Sherry and I took off work on Thursday so we could hit the road and make it to Minneapolis with enough time to get ready for the Lyrics Born and Cut Chemist concert at the recently reopened club now known as Foundation. The club had been recently renovated as The Level, and prior to that it had been closed after many years known as The Rogue. Sherry used to frequent the club during The Rogue days, so she was pretty interested to see how they changed it.
The information I had about the show said “10PM” which I interpreted to mean the time the show started as opposed to what time the doors were to open. Sherry wisely suggested that we take a cab from the Millennium where we were staying. We saw Lyrics Born and Joyo walking out of the hotel as we were checking in. They said that they sleep on the bus and were using a room for the day– which I didn’t know one could do! We got to the club around 9PM and were informed that the doors were at 10PM. It was cold that night so we didn’t want to stick around outside the club. We walked over to the nearby Lodge Bar for $2 draws and well drinks and kill time.
We came back over at 10:45 and hung out outside waiting for the doors. Sherry talked to the guys watching the door about the renovation. When the door opened, they let us in first– ahead of the line that had formed after we arrived. We walked around the place looking for a good place to perch for the show. Sherry said that one of the big changes was taking down a bunch of red velvet drapery that covered the walls. They also raised the dance floor. We think the place looks good.
After checking most of the vantage points in the place, we picked a really good spot next to the sound board overlooking the dance floor. I went to the bar to set up bottle service on some wine. I picked a 2003 Louis M. Martin Sonoma County Cabernet.
The first act up was Edan and Dagha. I hadn’t heard Edan before. I did some looking on the Internet and found his website. Some reviewers said that he was psychedelic hip-hop, which might be how I would describe Beck most of the time. His gear was set up on the floor in front of the DJ booth. One notable thing about Edan is he is both MC and DJ which is pretty impressive. Like the reviews I had been reading state, he is heavily influenced by old school Hip Hop. They had a small but interested crowd around them. Very interesting and ragged show. He pulled out an acoustic guitar a couple of times and had a kazoo at one point.
Towards the middle of his set, he played some obscure stringed version of “Strawberry Fields Forever” and they handed out white daisys, which we saw people carrying around most of the night. Sherry and I agreed that they were pretty entertaining. I’m going to check out some of his music later.
My plan was to take pictures at the show without using a flash– which could have been accomplished if there would have been more stage lighting. The pictures I have for Edan and Cut Chemist’s sets are not very good as a result. During Lyrics Born’s set I started using a flash. Those pictures turned out better, but are over exposed in my opinion.
Cut Chemist took the stage next after Edan carted his gear away. Cut Chemist’s set was set to some improvisational video editing done by “Tom” on an Apple Powerbook. Cut Chemist and Tom performed in the middle of two big video screens. There was no stage lighting during this. I think this was a pretty cool effect. I think it was DJ Shadow that said on many occasions that having people watch him perform instead of dancing always bothered him. The set was a continuous mix of songs off of The Audience Is Listening like “What’s the Altitude” and “The Garden” and the new iPod commercial song “The Audience Is Listening Theme.” Other tracks mixed in included “The Number Song” remix he did for DJ Shadow. During this song, Edan came out and rapped which was pretty cool.
At the end of the set, Cut grabbed a DV Cam and during the thank yous and crediting the people who helped he filmed himself and the audience– getting the names of the places that some people were from. He also thanked Vitamin D, who spent the set sitting next to us as he was working on sound. I hadn’t heard of him before. Sherry asked him why he called himself “Vitamin D” and he replied that it was because sunshine has Vitamin D. Vitamin D did quite a bit of the production on The Gift of Gab’s solo album 4th Dimension Rocketships Going Up. After the segments were taped, Cut Chemist came back out on stage and started doing a turntable/video set scratching the video captures he just took over what seemed to be the beat to “Chemical Calisthenics.” That is the first time I’d seen anything like that, and the crowd really responded to it! I’d like to get a boot from one of these shows.
It was during Cut Chemist’s set that a guy came up and asked me if I was taking pictures as a hobby or if I was professional. I explained that I was shooting for my blogsite. He said that his name was Rob and that he was the promoter for this show and that this show was a kind of homecoming for him. He said that earlier in the week he was concerned about a low turnout, but that the show ended up turning out well. He asked me for a business card, and I ended up making one with a Sharpie on the back of another card for a barber shop that I found. Later in the night, Jim the house sound guy told us that he thought it was cool that Rob let us stay in the V.I.P. area! We were hanging out all night in the V.I.P. area and didn’t even know it! Rob, if you read this– thanks!
Next up was Lyrics Born and Band. I was really happy to see that he was continuing with the live band on this tour. The band had the always-amazing Joyo Velarde on vocal duties, B’Nai Rebelfront on guitars, and Darius Minaee– who were all on the new Overnite Encore album released on Tuesday of that week. The band also included Uriah Duffy on bass and Kat Ounao on keyboards.
During the first part of LB’s set, I walked around the very crowded floor to try to get some shots. There really wasn’t a stage to speak of, just a rope cordoning off where the band was. As a result all of my pictures are at crowd level. For that reason, Foundation isn’t a great club to see a band in. I’d suggest that they get a stage that they can install and remove as needed.
The Lyrics Born live set pretty much echoed the Overnite Encore album in song choices and down to the false start intro to “Callin’ Out”, but the fact that they had been performing these songs so long really gave the songs some polish. He also introduced some new songs– two from Overnite and a new song called “Differences” that might be on his next album which was a testimony about the differences between the ladies and the guys with some of the standard observations about women taking too long to get ready. The song works really well as it is kind of a “June and Johnny” duet and has a great piano break. I can’t wait for the new album to come out.
I brought Sherry down to the floor so that she could get closer to the stage. At first she seemed skeptical but had a good time. We only had a couple of people between us and the stage. LB and Joyo work really well together and the live band really adds to the energy of the show. LB delivered his standard message of love and peace that I don’t think can be delivered enough these days. The whole crowd was moving and dancing. One comment my wife made earlier in the night was that she didn’t feel that enough people were “shaking it.” I have to agree with her. The Cut Chemist should have been a floor filler– with dancers, anyway. And LB really brought the funk.
For the encore, LB and band did “Hello” and Cut Chemist joined on turntables for a rousing end to the night. After the show we stood in line at the merchandise counter so I could get a couple of CDs and Sherry got a really good picture taken with him. We wished that Joyo would have been out at the counter, too. I picked up a copy of Overnite Encore and Season Two of The Lyrics Born Variety Show, that you can only get on tour at this time.
We had a great time that night and will certainly be out to see LB on tour for his new album next year.