Rap at Reverb

By Anand Balasubrahmanyan October 1, 2009


This Saturday local music descends on Ballard for Seattle Weekly's Reverb festival. It's massive—ten venues (three all-ages) and over 50 acts that sample the local scene. You've got folk from the Maldives at the Tractor and art rock from Heatwarmer at Mr. Spot's Chai House.

But what I'm most excited for is a full day at the NY Fashion Academy which is offering a complete intro course to why Seattle has been exciting for rap in 2009. Here's my rundown of the essential showcase:

3:30 | Fresh Espresso- P-Smoov, beat maker for controversial (in the lady Gaga way) cap hill kids Mad Rad, branched off to create this party rap duo. The beats are great, hypnotic electro bangers and MC Rik Rude boasts atop them like a man who claims to have been recently fellated.

4:30 | Grynch- The reluctant “King of Ballard” is a self deprecating story teller. On “Time” he laments local landmarks that have come and gone, “the funplex, it was a staple for years/ gone in '99 it's been a Staples for years.”

And when he's at his best, like on ode to his shitty car “My Volvo,” he's funny yet wistful, like hanging out with your best friend from high school.

5:30 | GMK- Here's what I said about GMK's Song's for Bloggers in my recent (3,000-word) feature on the brilliant Golden Mic King:

“It’s always reaching a little too far, but GMK is such a force of bizzaro charm that you just want to follow him into the unstable tangle of ideas, knowing that the resulting mess will be beautiful.”

6:30 | SK- SK is the most recent addition (along with Marissa) to the Sport n' Life roster

7:30 | Spaceman- Spaceman boasts an energetic and wild flow that can simultaneously recall a new school Brooklyn bark and the old school crazy voice rap of Rammellzee.

8:30 | Fatal Lucciauno- With D. Black's apparent withdrawal from rap for religion, Fatal Lucciauno has become Sportn' Life's main attraction. He has a compelling biography: Homeless for 11 years as a child he often performed on the streets to feed himself. He soon turned to hustling drugs and even after finding his place in rap, he would get arrested for his past. His raps are a brutal and urgent as they deal with his violent biography.

9:30 | Thee Satisfaction- Thee Satisfaction's newest “Snow Motion” EP is a challenge and a reward. The women trade off raps and careful jazz harmonies over queasy electronics creating a smart, exciting vibe. They chronicle Seattle snow storms and sexual politics with such laid back cool that only after the song does the complexity of what they just pulled off sink in. I'm pretty pumped for this show.

10:30 | Champagne Champagne- And the night caps off righteous with Champagne Champagne, the Molly Ringwald loving purveyors of sinister synth rap. Their latest single “Magnetic Blackness” has conquered KEXP, riding a dark synthesized howl that detunes and unravels into a squealing windows media player visualization. The trio promise to be a dark funhouse mirror of a party, but a party none the less.


Also, as Publicola readers you might be interested in the Mayoral Debate hosted at Conor Byrne at 8:30.

And fucking Heatwarmer play Mr. Spot's Chai House at 8

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