Brother Ali

Posted April 30, 2008 in
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This night was the most crowded that I have ever seen at Kilby Court. I showed up around seven and the tiny venue was already jammed with every snow-bro, hipster-in-training and 18-20-year-old lacking a fake ID. Not surprisingly, the show was sold out that night. The crowd appeared to be 99 percent white kids from the ‘burbs (a sight that I’m sure was mildly rare on this tour).

When I arrived, Toki Wright was about halfway through his set, entertaining the crowd with his mixture of humor and rhymes. It was hard to really see what was going on on stage from where I was standing near the back of the room, but even without being able to see it was clear that Toki Wright had an immense stage presence. The audience was totally captivated by his set. At one point he ran to the back of the crowd and performed half of a song with the kids in the back of the room. Although I couldn’t see a damn thing during the set (with the exception of when he was directly behind me) I was excited enough by the latter half of his performance to pick up a copy of Meal Plan after the show. It’s rad as shit and highly recommended.

After Toki Wright had finished his set, a handful of kids filtered outside to smoke. Within seconds Abstract Rude was on stage and ready to perform, and I was able to migrate a foot or two closer to the stage––although still not close enough to see anything for more than seconds at a time. Abstract Rude had a mellow style, but was no less captivating than the performer that had come before. One of my favorite songs was “Coolin’” which captures the essence of a lazy summer day. After about a half-hour set, Abstract Rude’s set was finished and it was time for Brother Ali.

Brother Ali took the stage right before 8:30 and played for about an hour. When he first appeared certain members of the audience attempted to rush forward with little success. People wanted room to dance and if anyone got closer to the stage that wouldn’t have been possible. Brother Ali got the attention of everyone in the crowd as soon as he took the stage with “Watcha Got.” BK-One was working the DJ booth located at the back of the stage and Toki Wright returned to the stage to act as the second half of Ali’s live band. The performance was amazing. Many of the songs played were off of The Undisputed Truth, but Ali also pulled a few out of the vault from his previous albums. Some of the highlights of his set were “Truth Is,” “Uncle Sam Goddamn,” “Walking Away” and “Champion.” During these songs the audience was singing along almost perfectly. Ali seemed sincerely grateful of this fact. He took time in between songs to thank everyone for coming out to the show, saying how amazing it was that Utah had such a united and powerful music scene and how appreciated he felt coming back to Salt Lake City and members of the audience knowing the lyrics to his songs. Toki Wright chimed in, saying how much fun the all-ages shows were because the kids were really much more passionate about the music than the 21+ crowd.

As the show came to an end, the artists rushed to make their next sold-out show that night at Urban Lounge. Initially I was worried that they may provide the underage crowd with a less than spectacular show and save their energy for the bar show later in the night. Luckily, I was mistaken. The show was intimate and powerful. All of the performers that I witnessed were passionate and poignant lyricists. I’m incredibly happy that I got to see a show like this at a tiny venue like Kilby Court––it made the experience that much personal and memorable.