courtesy of myspace.com/sagefrancis
June 28, 2007
With Buddy Wakefield, Alias, and Buck 65
Sage Francis, the most sarcastic emcee in underground hip hop, master of irony and double-meaning, sunglass aficionado and founder of the Strange Famous record label blessed Salt Lake with his presence to spread the word about his newest album, Human the Death Dance, and introduce us to a few of the other talented artists in his circle. The show was officially kicked off by one Buddy Wakefield, a slam poet whose intriguing recitation of moral examination employing abstract personification and visceral imagery exemplified the nature of the tour and the artists that were to follow him: hip hop for the people.
Buddy was followed by producer/emcee Alias, one member of the Avante-gard Bay Area hip hop collective Anticon. Alias was hip hop at its finest: an emcee with a Gatling gun flow over self-produced, concrete-breaking beats that evinced exactly how far this dynamic artist has come since his participation in the creation and release of the innovative landmark in underground hip hop history called Deep Puddle Dynamics. His performance of “Penny Drops,” a diss track aimed at Los Angeles emcee Murs (of Living Legends), which has proved almost prescient in its accusations, had the kids gaping in awe at a song defying the trite conventions of a traditional hip-hop “diss,” while still responding creatively to a contingent of the underground sphere which has not always been on friendly terms with the anticon. label.
After Alias’ set came Canadian DJ, producer, emcee, and former b-boy Buck 65. While Buck’s flamboyant personality coupled with his unique form of rapping, singing (and dancing), may have had some more traditional hip-hop heads furrowing their Boom Bap brows in befuddlement, he soon had them throwing up their jazz hands as he regaled the crowd with lyrics of assassins, mutantes, serpents, and sex fiends, finishing his set wicked and weird like a record-scratching Johnny Cash.
Exeunt Buck 65 and the members of Sage’s band took their positions on stage, with Tom Inhaler (co-runner of Strange Famous) playing guitar and singing, an attractive Dilly Dilly on the accordion, keyboard, and bow, and the versatile Alias banging out pant-pissing kicks and head pounding snares on his MPC. Francis then went on to prove why he has such a devoted following, performing songs from three of his main albums which in more than one case trumped their recorded contemporaries, a feat not easily achieved. His awkward Rhode Island charisma could be seen from the crowd’s reception to his set, with disheveled teenagers waving their arms in whichever direction he commanded them to. I witnessed the frenzy of the mob firsthand as a girl of average good looks who appeared to be in a Death Dance trance turned around from her vantage of the stage and proceeded to gyrate her body in the most lustful of fashions against my person. I disabused her of her carnal hopes quickly however, with a face expressing pure disgust and bewilderment at her audacity.
Sage eventually left the stage after donning his dollar sign, gold plated stunner shades for one last encore performance, leaving the crowd feeling adequately compensated for their ticket purchase.