If you happened to have peeked ahead to our brilliantly curated Events Calendar, you might already know that the “Critics’ Pick” on Sunday evening is the extremely potent double headlining duo of A$AP Rocky and Wiz Khalifa. By attending, you can see a few of the most polarizing and widely-discussed figures in all of rap in a single evening, and Trinidad James’ inclusion nearly puts this Gexa Pavilion show in Summer festival territory. Here’s what we said in our listing:
A$AP Rocky’s breakout performance at South by Southwest last year might have devolved into a massive brawl, but at least we learned that the young rapper can perform with stunning accuracy even when an unruly crowd is pelting him with water bottles and beer cans. He came out out of the ensuing controversy that much more popular. Just over a year later, he headlines an entire lineup of decorated artists, including the equally revered Wiz Khalifa. However, both men should keep an eye on the rapidly rising star of Trinidad James, a truth-in-advertising upstart who is actually Trinidadian. Like many other rappers of his era, James went from homemade online videos to having his own label seemingly overnight, a familiar storyline in this genre. As such, the entire “Under the Influence” tour is a one-night primer for the next generation of self-made rap moguls.
Along with that already stacked top bill, are a group of artists who obviously have little concern for the people who have to write up their shows without screwing up their names, including: B.o.B, Joey Bada$$ & Pro Era, Berner, Chevy Woods, and Smoke DZA. That’s no reason to ignore the opening acts, however, as they are all beginning to stake their respective claims, especially Monsieur Bada$$.
Jenny Robinson/D-Mar/S. Good/Air DJ/Shooknite (Hailey’s): Thanks to Track Meet, the quality of booking at Hailey’s still successfully bobs just above water, as evidenced by this lineup which features the always terrific Jenny Robinson. Yes, I mean “terrific” according to the true meaning of the word, and it’s still a compliment.
“Stereo on Strike” (Zubar): This will be Wanz Dover’s last appearance of his “Stereo on Strike” weekly, at Zubar specifically before it shuts down at the end of the month. Herman Glaspie and DJ G will be joining him in this loose-format night, and I’m awaiting with great anticipation where this event will head next and what form it will ultimately take in a new environment.
“Decks in the Park” (Klyde Warren Park): According to event organizer, Jeff Mitchell, the last MOMA-inspired “Decks in the Park” event boasted a turnout of “over 1000 people,” and it’s encouraging that Klyde Warren can switch up the program from the patron-led genres and still draw a crowd. Tonight’s proceedings will include DJs A1, Feezy, DVDJ Washington, Waric Cameron, Paradise, and the aforementioned Jeff Mitchell.
Update: “Fresh Beats” (Crown and Harp): Local hip hop promoter Joel Salazar put in a decade of work as one of the forces behind the underground hip hop production entity, Poor Vida, a known force in Dallas rap. He just started a brand new project, the slightly boastful Too Fresh Productions, and this evening at the Crown and Harp marks the first event under that banner.
Focusing on the seldom-unearthed world of the producer, “Fresh Beats” pits a huge lineup of artists against one another, including Glo Gaines, Brain Gang Blue, Campion Bond, and many others. The guest judges include Gensu Dean and J. Rhodes, the latter of which was profiled in FrontRow late last year. Finally, tonight’s event is hosted by Slim Gravy, of the terribly overworked A.Dd+. Admission is free on this one.
“The Turn Up” (Beauty Bar)
“Big Bang” (The Travis)
Problem Dogg/Love Cop/Midnite Society/Jakkkechan (Macaroni Island): For months now, I’ve been convinced that Problem Dogg was an elaborate Facebook in-joke, but, no, they have a Bandcamp page, so they must be real. This has all the makings of a gimmick comedy/noise hybrid, with plenty of obscurely referential song titles, endlessly avalanching bits of music, and lots and lots of comic sans. Problem Dogg is making fun of something or someone, but I can’t tell who. That’s probably for the best.
Sin Motivo/Recide/Dead Line/Night Crimes (1919 Hemphill): Tonight’s show is one of the last before Sin Motivo heads off to the midwest and northeast on an extensive tour that only the remaining hardcore bands in the world ever seem to endure on their own volition. Maybe blog house would have had better longevity if the pioneers of the form had gone on 40-city-in-30-day tours. Sin Motivo also has a new 7-inch on the way, so I’ll keep you posted.
“Nite Versions” (Ku De-Ta): Tonight’s guests are Air DJ, as well as Orthy and Ramesh.
Other Friday Shows—
Madras/Matthew and the Arrogant Sea/Holwer Jr (The Where House)
The Abnormal/Unconscious Collective/Juan Carlos Salguero/Big J/DJ Mecoseco & LeeIII (Texas Theatre)
The Nervebreakers/SausTex/Hello Lover/The Venetian Sailors (Club Dada): The interesting thing about beloved Dallas punk band the Nervebreakers at this point is recognizing just how early they truly were in the development of punk rock at that time. They were so ahead of the curve in the evolution of underground music that they now sound just as much an American proto-punk act in many ways — rather than the prevalently adopted, strong British influence of later punk acts — as well as American hardcore, which would emerge even further down the pike. That makes them a singularly Dallas product, with a sound that is their’s alone. Though it can be tiresome and even counterintuitive to constantly be told to respect your elders in what was once supposed to be radical youth music, to hear a song as tossed-off as “My Girlfriend is a Rock” is to understand the group’s lasting appeal as artists who made a distinct statement, rather than as stand-ins for their very own yellowed photojournalism images of why punk was supposedly so important.
Breakfast Machine (Sundown at Granada): The Breakfast Machine will be playing two sets, old fashioned showbiz style, in conjunction with the release of their new record, which is entitled Electric 2033.
“Glamorama” (Beauty Bar): Speaking of the Sundown, I went to a Blake Ward’s Tuesday night weekly yesterday, and though it was rather sleepy in there, the 1980s-theme for the evening provided a never-miss evening of some of my favorite tracks. Along with some help from Vicki Tollemache, that near-perfect set included all of these OMD songs, and this one by Book of Love, and this one and — in short, she should DJ more often, if possible.
Adam Ant (The Granada): More information is available here.
Photo: A$AP Rocky at Fun Fun Fun Fest 2012. Credit: Andi Harman