Blue Scholars, Bambu, Grynch and DJ Inphared, Burnell Washburn @ Urban 10.24

Posted October 28, 2011 in

DJ Sabzi and Geologic of Blue Scholars. Photo: Tone
Blue Scholars have visited Salt Lake City a handful of times and have since gained a considerable following for an underground hip hop act in a city dominated by any genre other than. When I arrived at Urban Lounge, I was pleasantly surprised to see a healthy line already forming outside before the doors even opened, which negated my fear that the turnout would be less than what this talented hip hop duo deserved. Fresh from a performance at Kilby Court earlier that night, Burnell Washburn was first on stage accompanied by DJ Number 2. Washburn kicked off his set with a well-executed rap monologue that got heads turning towards the stage. After DJ Number 2 spun up the turntables, the party got started and didn’t stop until the last words spoken by DJ Sabzi and Geologic of Blue Scholars.

Grynch was up next, and his homegrown Seattle style was evident in his lyrics, with DJ Nphared rocking the vinyl with no Macbook in the middle. At this point in the night the entire floor was full and the rear section began to fill up"the crowd was feeling it. After Grynch finished his set, it was time for Bambu to take the helm of the final opening act to set the stage for the Blue Scholars. He started his set by reciting the “Pledge of Allegiance,” and I was curious to see where he would take things. The moment I realized I really dug Bambu was when his second song included the lyrics, “a bunch of broke mother-fuckers that look just like you.” Having spent the last of my life savings on the pint in front of me, I looked around the room to the sight of a bunch of twenty-something white boys donning tight jeans and bad haircuts. “Alright,” I thought to myself, “this guy knows what he’s talking about.” After the general truth of his lyrics drew me in, I noticed a few other things about his performance I really liked, from his Busta Rhymes-style rhythmic rapping to DJ Infared’s well constructed Deltron 3030 and Tribe Called Quest beat samples. Even my girlfriend, an avid Thrice enthusiast, seemed to be enjoying herself.

Bambu’s set seemed not nearly long enough, yet the crowd was more than ready for the headliners. As Sabzi and Geologic took the stage, they were welcomed by thunderous applause and numerous clouds of smoke rose from the crowd. They started their set off with “Cinemetropolis,” the title track off their 2011 release, which bears the message that we are all products of the media and images that we expose ourselves to. Other songs off the album that got the crowd nice and riled up included “Fou Lee” and “George Jackson,” as well as some older songs: “Inkwell,” “Big Bank Hank” and “Loyalty.” Throughout the performance, Sabzi often put the turntables on autopilot and grabbed a mic, rapping alongside Geologic and interacting with the crowd. The Scholars ended the night with “North By Northwest” accompanied by Grynch, and “No Rest for the Weary.” As the duo saluted the crowd and left the stage, I found myself not wanting them to be done. This is a hip hop group with a message and a purpose that they invest their lives in, and that’s what makes their live show so captivating"they mean it.
DJ Sabzi and Geologic of Blue Scholars. Photo: Tone Bambu. Photo: Michelle Magalong Burnell Washburn Grynch with DJ Nphared. Photo: Ryan Lewis