Thursday, October 18, 2007

Halifax Pop Explosion:: Brother Ali & Blueprint @ The Attic

For last night's excursion out into the world of the Halifax Pop Explosion, we decided to hit the two diamterically opposite shows we could find. Well it's not like we really thought about it in adavance, but that's just kind of how it turned out. After enjoying the electroacoustic goodness of the Forward music showcase, we headed up to The Attic to check out Brother Ali and Blueprint.

For the unaware, Minneapolis, Minnesota's Brother Aliis one of the heavyiest hitters in the underground hip hop scene. He was joined on the bill by fellow Rhymesayers crew member Blueprint, who has also made quite a name for himself both as a solo MC and as part of Soul Positionwith RJD2. Needless to say, I'd been looking forward to this show, as it's not often that two of the few remaining MC's I still really enjoy come to Halifax. I'm happy to say I wasn't disappointed.

The evening was hosted by energetic, Minneapolis native Toki Wright who also openned the evening with a performance of his own. I should mention that Brother Ali came onstage to start the festivities and introduce Toki, and he seemed extrememly humble and grateful througout the entire evening. Not exactly sure why, but I've always had this picture of Ali being kind of a crusty, uber serious dude. This appears to have been way off base, as he was nothing but gracious for the entire night. Toki put plenty of energy and humor into his fairly short set, and the growing crowd was appreciative.

Blueprint was up next, and perhaps somewhat surprisingly, the crowd was absolutely hyped for him from the get go. I know Halifax has a healthy hip hop scene, but I have to say I was pleasantly surprised at how many people were singing along not only with Soul Position gems like Hand-Me-Downs and Fuckajob but also with songs like Boombox and Big Girls Need Love Too from Blueprint's excellent solo album 1988. Print is always charismatic, but he comes off pretty laid back on record, so I wasn't sure what his live show would be like. Well I needn't have worried much, as he absolutely killed it and had people losing their minds on the sing-along closer Sex, Drugs, Alchohol, and Rock & Roll. Just a fantastic set.

Of course Brother Ali was the evening's finale, and by that time it was around 1:30 and the crowd was large and a tad restless. Some technical difficulties with DJ BK One's laptop forced a slight delay, which Toki and Blueprint filled with some stories an some amusing banter which included a Junior High-esque boast of being able to kick over his head thus being able to mangle some heckler, as well as Blueprint stating that the delay was legit, and that Ali wasn't pulling a MF Doom move by sitting out back and waiting for 20 minutes while the crowd chanted for him before coming out to lip-sync.

Well, the wait was worth it, as Brother Ali lit the stage on fire when he made his appearance. He opened with some raucus jams from his latest album, The Undisputed Truth, like Watcha Got and Truth Is, and the crowd lost their collective minds from the get go. I'm not sure if Ali & Co. knew what to expect from this small Canadian city that they knew nothing about (other than Buck 65 hails from here - Brother Ali does a quality Buck impression by the way, which he broke out at the start of the evening), but I think they were very pleased with the crowd response.

Being a fairly large man, and albino, Ali is a pretty striking figure as soon as he walks on stage, but he is incredibly energetic as well and it was impossible to stand still watching him. This lead to some very awkward attempts at the hip hop moves by many white folks in the crowd, but it was great to see how into all the acts a lot of the people who normally wouldn't go near a hip hop show were. I think Ali played almost everything off his latest album as well as a number of classics from his lauded debut Shadows On The Sun. In fact I think he was having so much fun that he didn't want to get off the stage, he even asked for requests near the end. He might still be playing actually, we have no idea. As good as the show was, we were dead at 2:30 and had to drag our old asses out of there.

All in all, it was a great show, check out some video and photos from the shows below. And yes, it was very dark and loud in the club, so they aren't pristine quality, but they're enjoyable none the less.

MP3:: Brother Ali - Whatcha Got (Live @ The Attic)

MP3:: Brother Ali - Truth Is (Live @ The Attic)

Video:: Blueprint - Hand-Me-Downs @ The Attic

Video:: Brother Ali - Truth Is Live @ The Attic

Video:: Brother Ali - Uncle Sam Goddamn @ The Attic

Toki Wright warms it up


Blueprint drops science for the people...and chicks looking the wrong way

Brother Ali takes the stage

Ali breaks it down

Ali takes it back to the old school, some chick reciprocates by wearing her '92 era White Sox hat avec le pinstripes

Posted at 12:15 PM by naedoo :: 0 comments

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