CMJ! Black hoodies everywhere! And energy drinks!
Yesterday (10/21) at the Blender Theatre, oh-so-charismatic Chicago-based duo The Cool Kids topped the bill of the official CMJ showcase in a night of ridiculously tight drums and good rhymes.
Free Sol kicked off the marathon’s first evening of performances with an energetic blend of rap rock. You hear “rap-rock” and you think Limp Bizkit and Linkin Park, but it’s a false reflex. Uncharacteristically for rap-rock acts, Free Sol have a lot of humor to them: “I’m gonna put you in a moooovie,” rapped band frontman and lyricist, Free Sol, while guitarist Elliott “aka E Ives” backed him in a Southern drawl: “I’m gonna make you faaayyyyeee-moous!” I mean, when you say it like that, it’s hard to resist.
When Skillz (formerly Mad Skillz) came onstage with a backpack on, a reference to his latest album ”Million Dollar Backpack” released this past July, he gave the mostly white and very indie looking crowd (including yours truly) a hip-hop refresher course. ”How many of you like hip-hop?” he said to big cheers. “Now how many of you know the history of hip-hop?” Uh, well, I uh. Hmmm. Saying that hip-hop had been stolen and degraded in the last twenty odd years, he used his stage time as a call to arms to music lovers. “Do y’all think hip-hop is dead?” he asked before launching into “Hip Hop Died”, which pulsed, I just heard/Somebody say/That hip-hop died/A long time ago.
Toronto’s The Carps gave a heartfelt performance to a crowd that was already a bit restless waiting for The Cool Kids. If you follow The Cool Kids you may have already heard of The Carps from their collaboration on The Carps’ “Heaven’s Gate Hell’s Flames Remix”. Jahmal Tonge and Neil White play metal with hip-hop and soul overtones. That’s the best way I can think to describe their rather unique sound. Tonge on drums also does vocals, while White usually just plain rocks out on guitar. “Do you love me yet?” said Tonge flirtatiously. The room did seem to warm to him, only ”No!” shouted an unhappy customer. ”It’s ok, it hasn’t been that long, I know.”
The Cool Kids came on around 10:30pm to hoots and cries. In seconds, no one was shy anymore. Evan “Chuck Inglish” Ingersoll wore a Cubs jacket and a patent leather black cap. He and Reed looked so much in their element. They went through all the hits, including “Black Mags”, as the room bounced up and down, mouthed every word, and called every response. Mickey Factz showed up. Someone threw a box of Froot Loops onstage and Reed showered the crowd in Os, saying “Whoever gave me this box, you’re awesome. I had to share it with everyone.” There was even time for some free XBox games and an onstage dance-off. I feel romanced, man. Charmers, those kids.
Get more pics via Brooklyn Vegan…
The Cool Kids “Oscar The Grouch” (Live at CMJ 2008)