Twin Shadow @ Maggie Mae’s (Rooftop)
Kosha Dillz @ The Marq
Kosha is somewhat of an odd bird in the rap world. His PR is heavy on his Jewish heritage but he doesn’t pull on it hard like Matisyahu, it’s more of a backdrop for rhymes about standard rap shit—bitches, tribulations and being fat. Though he has slimmed down since I saw him at X-Dance two years ago. He did all my favorites from his first album and had, randomly enough, MC Pig Pen from SLC join him onstage for a track of impromptu freestyling. The odd trend started when I realized SLC’s DJ Street Jesus was on the 1s and 2s. “Fuck Yes” was the first thought I had upon realizing we had some SLC hiphop up in the scene—and the guys didn’t disappoint.
I picked up the debut album from these guys a few years ago and was really interested in catching up with their new sound. I was disappointed. I really enjoyed their old stuff but found the new tracks from their EP No Land’s Man more melancholy, in a bad way. The performance was solid, though, tightly arranged and well played. It’s a bad sign when you think the band should open with the single from the first album and they don’t.
Beats Antique @ Beauty Bar Backyard
I rushed from Maggies Mae’s four blocks to the Beauty Bar and found a capacity crowd inside the chain link fence and me outside of the Beats Antique show. This was one of the only shows I’d been planning on seeing for months. It was the cruelest of situations, a thirsty dog inside his dog house with a fresh pond of water outside, as I watched the soundcheck and a bunch of VIP’s vetted walk past my top of the cue position. As the tenth person was let into the “at capacity” show I broke my usual chill façade and said to the venue manager blocking the entrance: “What the fuck is that? That’s the tenth motherfucker you’ve let in.” He held up his forefinger and thumb and asked the rhetorical question, “Do you know what this is? It’s the world’s smallest violin. Fuck you.”
Is this where I lost it and stomped on his toe like a bitch? No, I glared back, hard, you know? At this point the guy showed a bit of compassion and shoved me physically into the venue with a hurried “I’m sorry I said that.”
Being the squeaky wheel paid off. Beats Antique proceeded to play a show that will forever be in my top ten, up with The XX, Twin Shadow, Warm Ghost, Jurassic 5, Little Dragon, and other notables.
Their sound is as good live as it is in the studio, which is amazing considering it comes from only a drummer and a multi-instrumentalist. The sounds, oft-characterized as electronic belly dance music (somewhat of a misnomer), were someplace between an Arabian-night past and a purely electronic, glitch-filled future.
When the action couldn’t get any hotter, it went an extra 5 degrees in the tented backyard as fellow Oakland musicians The Extreme Action Marching Band’s 20+ horn players, rhythm makers, flag wavers and cheerleaders marshaled onstage. Their oompah oompahs paired perfectly with the gypsy sounds of Beats Antique’s final song.
The Party didn’t end there, though. The marching band led the crowd from the venue into the alley and onto the street, a freaks and characters Pied Piper parade that ended on Trinity Street, just above 6th Street. It didn’t really end there, though. The band continued to play songs, complemented by the cheerleaders eclectic choreography, to an awed and random crowd of hundreds.
It hasn’t been any wilder, probably won’t get more maddening, and capped off one of the best days of my life.