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Tonight, two of Northwest hip hop's finest duos wrap up the third consecutive night of shows at Neumo's. The first two sold out (and this one probably will very shortly) but it's easy to see why.
Last time Blue Scholars played in Seattle (at a sold out Showbox show last September), I wrote:
Blue Scholars don’t separate their political awareness from their music – and all of the best songs in their catalogue tell the stories you won’t hear on the news or read in newspapers. That they are able to tell those tales through their music (and especially over Sabzi’s excellent beats) makes them both politically and artistically successful.
This, though, was a show and everyone present was there to have a great time – and they did. This setup was minimal, it was just Geologic and Sabzi this night, and they weren’t backed by a funky jazz band, like when I saw them at The Program last year. There was a cameo from Thig Natural of The Physics, who gave us a verse on “North by Northwest”, but it was mostly Sabzi’s beats and Geologic’s rhymes for the night. I couldn’t see anyone who didn’t have their hands in the air during that song.
And for Common Market, my friend Chris Estey wrote of their Capitol Hill Block Party set last summer:
It was a powerful, two-fisted set, and if the music from a DJ I didn't recognize wasn't so mesmerizing, I would have been startled enough by Scion's live performance change of tone to walk out of the festival and start organizing for change, dammit. I'm not being facetious -- there are some hip-hop artists who compare themselves to the energy of the MC5, but they lack any political conviction to go with the fuzzy guitars and souped-up drums. Common Market is radical, revolutionary rap music, and Scion was swarming a healthy, bouncing crowd all by himself to get them started.
The set was long and strong, and a perfect way to begin my (and many others') experience of the Capitol Hill Block Party 2008. I am incredibly eager to get back to devouring CM's new double album-length brimstone banquet of language and groove, "Tobacco Road," with such mind-altering and dance-sparking anthems like "Slow Cure" and "Trouble Is." It's an eighteen track concept record about the death of the working class and the bastard priests who bless it, and listening to it again this morning it makes perfect sense that Common Market sounded like a Kentucky-born Clash taking "London Calling" out on the stage for the first time. Yeah, no BS, I had a hard time imagining being as impressed by anything else coming up at the Block Party after this.
If those two groups weren't enough to get you out of the house on a Monday night, Macklemore and Dyme Def (another one of my favorite local hip hop crews) will also be sharing the stage.
What have you got planned on this Monday night?