Eyedea concert much more than a show
Darrell Ford
staff writer
August 04, 2005
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The Eyedea concert was much more than a show. Though the doors opened at 9:30, the openers combined for more than two hours of hip-hop exhibition before the Minnesotan headliner even touched a mic. [Event brough to A^2 by Scion and Rhymesayers Entertainment.

The first opener was DJ FatCal, who spun a set that the sparse crowd slept on. Local talents Tasherre D’Enajetic and Asylum 7 represented the Mitten with, unsurprisingly, a lot of energy. Tasherre filled out his set with selections from his album Enavisions, including his collaboration with Asylum 7, “When Darkness Falls.” Both MCs have new albums coming out in the next few months and they made it a point to plug themselves with fresh songs and the more conventional “go buy our shit” statement.

Silent Army, in true hip-hop fashion, was a one-man act from California. Between thanking Eyedea for the opportunity and staring vacantly offstage, he drove through a brief set in which he powered through some fairly competent verses before encouraging the crowd to sing-a-long to his song “Where You At,” about loving your current location as much as your hometown. Following Tasherre’s Michigan boosting set, this song easily caught the crowd’s enthusiasm.

The next act was The Crest, from Madison, Wiscompton. The pair fit in excellently with the rest of the socially conscious Midwesterners. Though their excitement was infectious as they sang about killing everyone, they displayed a more thoughtful side as well. They’re song about how there are two sides to every war story [a soldier killing a truck of non-combatants, a man who’s lost all he loves becoming a terrorist, both leading to prolonged violence and strife] elicited more than one appreciative cheers from the crowd for their depth. They also introduced Carnage, an emcee and excellent beatboxer. He gave their DJ a break and provided the beat for The Crest to freestyle over. Carnage also joined them in a song about how thick girls needed lovin’ too. Though not as charged as their war song, this may have been the most clever of their numbers.

Dante and Deck (two thirds of SwitchStance) powered through a graceful selection of songs, despite some difficulties with Deckmaster D’s equipment. Dante displayed versatility by mixing harmonica playing with his lyricism. A true showman, when Deck’s equipment failed, Dante dropped an acapella. The duo recovered using vinyl from their merch table, which included instrumentals of their song “Couch Bum,” which the audience eagerly adhered to. As they made their way off stage, all those in attendance were thoroughly immersed in the hip-hop moment.

Eyedea’s was an unimposing set. It started simply, with the touted live band stepping on stage and taking their places. An exceptional drummer, later introduced as Bates, and a bassist seemed humble enough, and at times they certainly blended into the background. Other times, however, their standout play was enough to make Eyedea stop and marvel. Eyedea, a crooked toothed kid from Minnesota with very unkempt hair, didn’t spit a single verse from First Born or from E&A. Instead, he did the unexpected, and started freestyling. Willing to mess up, and knowing that he wouldn’t do that very often, Eyedea’s hour and a half set was filled with off the cuff remarks and fortuitous cleverness.

Eyedea, a Blaze Battle standout, shines more when he can play off of someone else. Fortunately for all involved, in addition to taking his cues from the pacing of the bass and drums, his friends included three other emcees: Carnage, Kristof Krane, and Matza I (aka Will). The four played off of each other exceptionally well, each showcasing his lyrical dexterity in a way that made it hard to celebrate any above the others. Matza’s nimble triplicates, Carnages impromptu battle with the drummer, and Krane’s gritty desperation all struck a chord with the audience. Eyedea, however, kept tying the tangents together. He acted as an outstanding MC and a stellar emcee, distinguishing himself as the freestyle session hit the thirty minute mark. “I believe in you and you believe in us, we call that trust.” That became the theme for the evening, as the road less traveled became the show more memorable.

[RMR]