Saturday, May 21, 2011

Medusa, Sellasie and More at Club 6, SF

View From the Front Row, 5/21/11

The other night, I went to Sellasie's annual "We All We Got" event starring Medusa at Club 6 in San Francisco. The "We All We Got" series is meant to showcase local undiscovered talent, but the main draw of this event for me was Medusa, who put on an absolutely stellar show when I saw her open for Myka 9 in San Francisco last year. I had so much fun watching that performance that it was impossible to turn down another opportunity to see her play in the city, despite getting off work late and forgetting my camera at home (blurry pics here provided courtesy of my iPhone... haven't been having much luck with clear pics lately).

In typical Club 6/hip hop event fashion, the show hadn't even started by the time I got there around 11 PM. I'm not going to cover the opening acts (Milla, Nix, AudibleSol, Da Govamint, etc.) in great detail because, frankly, their sets felt a bit like watching Amateur Night at the Apollo. Not pointing any fingers since this blog doesn't revolve around hating, but there are a few lessons that could be learned about what not to do at live shows from some of these performances:
  • Don't brag about how your single is being played on the radio and dedicate a track "to the ladies" when there are only a handful of people in the audience. Your prime objective should be to engage those few folks!
  • Don't, under any circumstance, rap over your tracks when your vocals are all over said tracks. Highly unprofessional and defeats the purpose of trying to impress people with your rapping. It also makes performers sound like back-up vocalists to their own shit!
  • If you throw money at the crowd, and the crowd picks it up and gives it back to you, do not throw the money at the crowd again! Chances are they don't want your dollars and change.
  • If you're being paid by an international water company to promote their product, please do not hang their poster on the wall and perform a song advertising their shit. Surely, you get paid enough for recording the track and giving it to them?
  • If you actually choose to play a song advertising a product, do not follow the song up with a diss track to haters of those kinds of advertisements. You're probably alienating the crowd in doing so!
The highlight moment of the opening acts was the final song performed by AudibleSol, which was intended as kind of a throw-back to Tribe Called Quest and succeeded at getting a party vibe going in the club. The songs that Sellasie performed between sets were pretty good as well... at least he had the energy and stage presence to pull a decent live performance off, unlike the majority of the acts that opened for Medusa.

Anyway, regardless of the openers feeling like one generic rap audition tape, Medusa still came through and delivered the goods in full. Her set started with two of her LA friends kicking a verse each - the blunt-smoking dude that started things off I'd never heard of, but the other gal in attendance ended up being none other than Neb Luv of Project Blowed, who kicked a heated verse that had Sellasie and others fiending to hear more. While Neb was a welcome surprise, Medusa was still clearly the Queen of the evening's performers, as she brought her trademark soulful vocals and vibrant personality to get the crowd super open. She performed a number of the classy standards fans have come to hear from her live, as well as one or two new songs from her long-awaited "Whr's the DJ Booth?" album. In addition to her being a talented vocalist and a complete spectacle to watch live (think mohawk, Monster tanktop, major chain bling), one thing I love about Medusa as a performer is that she can gage the crowd's reactions extremely well. The minute she senses that the crowd is the least bit hesitant to get down, she'll do something like cut the beat off and grab people's attention with a powerful verse accapella. Precisely the kind of live talent you'd expect from Project Blowed's Gangsta Goddess, made up for the less-than-stellar cast of other performers. My only complaint is that the set was pretty short for a headlining act, running about the same amount of time as her set opening for Myka 9 last year.

And thus ends May's slew of View From the Front Row postings, unless I'm mistaken. Whew. Back to yer regularly scheduled blogging.

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