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Tech N9ne & Krizz Kaliko

Independent Grind Tour

House of Blues in Dallas, Texas

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On June 22nd 2014 at the House of Blues I was thrown the chance to finally witness with very own eye balls and hear with my very own ear balls, the former red-headed wonder, Tech N9ne. I’ve had that man’s lines running through my headphones since he had the blood dipped spikes that gave him that title and somehow, some way, his shows have totally eluded me until now. The last show I had the almost-chance to see him perform was at a venue of half the capacity, half the stage height, and half the security attentiveness, and what did I do? Work. Who does that? Well lucky me this time I have a job with reasonable hours and a particularly helpful president of all things FLH. And lucky you this time I spent twice as much time taking notes as I did dumping rum & coke into my maw. All the ingredients are together so here I present to you the official review and first account of Tech N9ne and his Independent Grind Tour.

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The House of Blues

The House of Blues sits in the center of downtown Dallas with the iconic logo emblazoned water tower overlooking the highway systems that surround and intersect Deep Ellum. A truly authentic live music experience is a virtual guarantee here with the alumni that’s rattled it’s walls and all the charm of paying 10 dollars to park underneath a highway.

Walking up to the entrance all the familiar chants ring through the alleyways, “We will never die alone, juggalos will carry on, swing our hatchets if we must, each and every one of us” and it’s then that I remember that at this point in Tech’s career he’s pulling fans that are completely unfamiliar to juggalos and juggalo-isms outside of “Miracles”. This also painfully evident in the presence of radio vans. How dare they. Waiting too long to get in line brings me just past the corner where our local on the grind, T-Ryde, is passing out his demos and the adventure that is going to see a concert begins.

Our first local opener is an MC by the name of Alsace Carcione with her DJ in tow, killing it with the house lights on. I, like an asshole, made it inside halfway into her set and paid about 20 percent the attention to her that I should have because I was concerned with seeing old friends and reacting to the booze prices. I said I took twice the notes compared to my drink tally, not that I didn’t drink. I took a lot of notes. One of those notes was that I should link you immediately to her bandcamp so that you can give her the time I spent deciding if the Wells were worth it. So here: http://alsacecarcione.bandcamp.com/ click it. Do it.

TeamPMP

TeamPMP

Team PMP was up next, another local act featuring DNiCE, Tinman and J Roll, tossing out rhymes at a rock steady energy level the whole set through and represented our town well in doing so. Not a millisecond was spent standing still!  It’s like they know how to use the space or something. Everything was going great until they brought out yet-to-be seasoned by the scene femcee by the name of Repunzel? I… think? Sporting a full body chain and a microphone through which she may or may not have actually been rapping into (unless she got one of those new fangled encouragement mics that get louder the further they get from your face). The lines I could decipher were fairly fergish. Not full Fergie, but pretty fergish. They closed out to applause aplenty peppered with the slightest of confusion from those who were familiar with their act sans blonde, and it’s time for another bathroom break.

Psych Ward Druggies

Psych Ward Druggies

Up next is our first tour opener already dipped in rumor from the parking lot, Psych Ward Druggies. What can I say about Psych Ward Druggies. Well… A lot of things. For one, Nick Cannon. Shhh it’s okay he’s not in it, they’re just signed to his label thanks to his friend and creator, an MC named Strikes. Their line up was 3 of the possible 6 rappers attached to the act accompanied by drummer, Don Druggie, and storyline leader of the group, a faceless guitar player gunning for 3rd most famous top hat in music behind Slash and King Diamond, named Dr. Csalochin. Ironically his faceless nature makes him easy to be played by virtually any touring guitarists, somewhat wise when designing a band, but it can’t bode well for managing an Insane asylum full of rappers. They explained their shtick worryingly close to how it’s described in every one of their online profiles. “The world is a psych ward and we’re all drugged up by society”. That’s dangerously close to “high on life”. This is music, if you’re not banging bags heroin you’re wasting your money. But I’ll be fair. They had great stage presence, despite the obvious pop tinge to their rap, and their drummer was hot on his cues. Top-hat McWign’Mask was clearly digging his own sounds and I’m glad he was, I just wish I was closer to whatever monitor he was plugged into. Their timing was tight and well practiced, showing they were established performers regardless of what curmudgeonly opinions I or anybody else would have about their gimmick. They finished up with their supposed controversial hit “Respect The Shooter”. As adequate and acceptable a set ender as as it was, I couldn’t help but notice that the main sample they used was the chorus to Friend & Lover’s “each Out of The Darkness”. Here’s the unfortunate thing about that, there’s a certain rugged individual who recently released a video using that same sample ever so slightly more intuitively. Guess who’s song was much more fresh on the minds of those who attended? Rugged Man’s flow WILL fuck your whole head up. At the end end of the day their name on the bill at any show wouldn’t ever be a deterrent.  They’re entertainers, and good ones, but I have I have a hard time seeing myself at their merch booth. Time for another double.

Jarren Benton

Jarren Benton

Jarren Benton. This man is exploding and 100 percent deservedly, making Funk Volume more and more potent a label with every date he performs. His flows were flawless, his knack for crowd manipulation is handy as hell for a XXL freshman classman, and his stage support was perfect. His part time DJ, part time Hype Man, Flick was so comfortable on stage he could have walked out with slippers and bed head and still rocked it like it was his morning routine anyway. Not to take anything away from his live drummer, Alienwarr, who was by far a highlight of the show. Especially his drum solo during a spontaneous playing of Bark At The Moon. The man did it justice. Easily. Like a crazy black metal Gene Krupa. Not black metal… Black and metal. As hell. I especially appreciated him walking across the stage toward the end leaning out with one of his cymbals so that any eager watcher could participate by clanging along while Jarren finished up. Jarren Benton was such a force to be reckoned with. Fan now, fan forever. And not just because he gave everybody permission to say “nigga”. I feel like I should get some some sort of card or certificate but I’ll take verbal permission too. He filled the crowd with such fire that everyone had to assume that the only person that could follow him is Tech… wrong.

Trying to know every great rapper in the game is a lot like trying to count all the ants in a single colony in someone else’s backyard. You can put a lot of time into it but you’re not gonna get half as far as you think, and eventually you’re gonna have to be elsewhere. Freddie Gibbs is yet another name I’ve yet to have heard uttered but after seeing his show, it’s a wonder why not. Strutting shirtless in star spangled pants spitting precision rhymes like a less dead Tupac, this seasoned MC was a great slice of hip hop to come across. Most tracks ended or began with Freddie going on studio quality acapella tirades so exact you could lay your own kicks and snares in your mind and you’d still be unable to make rhythms as tightly knit as the syllables he spit. It was a true showcase of skill, but something did strike me as unfortunate. His placement on the the show roster might have been a misstep for the simple fact that his music wasn’t quite at the energy level that you’d put between a young MC as full of piss and vinegar as Jarren Benton, and someone as renowned for his relentless showmanship as Tech N9ne. His skill level completely confirmed his impressive resume, which is easily what landed him the slot. But if I’m gonna build a show to a big ending, I’m not gonna follow Twiztid with live poetry reads.

Tech N9ne

Tech N9ne

In the time Freddie Gibbs left the stage up until now, the pre show anxiety is bubbling up through the crowd. Fans spitting a long with Tech while his albums play to the room as the crew toils away behind the curtain. The curtain rustled to spawn a rise out of the crowd but all for not; the opening for one of his many hard hitters plays briefly on accident, probably caused by a wayward elbow on a cue button, and still nothing. But then the curtains finally slide open the house starts tremble, waiting eagerly for the reveal, and they aren’t disappointed. The giant Strange Music speaker splits open to expose the crowd to the painted visage of Tech N9ne himself followed shortly after by the genius Krizz Kaliko. The crowd undulated, to and fro, under the influence of Tech’s mightiest of flows. Every second of his show is timed and mixed together by only the hands of a true perfectionist. The lights danced completely in step with him and Krizz, therapeutic for the eyes as much was the bass a massage for the ears. He ran through every hit from Absolute Power right up through the track that earned his spot on Kimmel the following Tuesday, “Fragile”. Breaks were taken very occasionally for the man to breathe for a second and interact with the crowd, expressing his appreciation for his fans and his struggle with the loss of his mother. It’s something that many people would take months of hiatus over, but Tech is never known to stop or even slow his hunger for success.  He’d rather honor her memory by never faltering. His show was tempered with occasional soulful solo work by Krizz Kaliko that would make Al Green envious. The man has one formidable voice and those strong tones are hard to shake even now. Together they stitch a Strange Music showcase that can’t be matched. The crowd continuously exuded sweaty exhausted fans like steam escaping a volcano while the crowd ruptured as such and for all the rises and falls the entire set was a force of nature to be reckoned with.

Now that I’ve recovered fully from the onslaught on my senses, I can only remember it as anything and everything I could ever want from a headliner and nothing short of a cap to the skull will stop me from seeing this man in person ever again.

Location:

  • House of Blues
  • Texas
  • United States

Guests:

  • Freddie Gibbs, Jarren Benton, Psych Ward Druggies

Tour:

  • The Independent Grind Tour

Record Label:

  • Strange Music

Websites:

Reviewer:

Review Date:

  • 06/22/2014

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