This is an archived blog post. Jason Linetsky is no longer a Ningin blogger.
The sounds of hip-hop, Soul, and a little violin filled the air in one of the trendiest Brooklyn bars, Public Assembly, as Resonating Awareness Worldwide (R.A.W) brought together the coasts for the AM Classic. At first it appeared to be a coastal split with East Coast artists taking up the stage in one room and West Coast in the other but the tech and audio crews created a more harmonious idea. The main room focused on the spinners, scratchers, and MCs mixing their beats with a little freestyling flair. Artists from both coasts came up including Hydroponikz, Magnetic North, the Misnomer(s), and the combo of DJ Dstrukt, Dumbfounded, Youthinasia, and Lyraflyp. The back room had the sounds of live musicians with Heather Park, Cynthia Lin, Kelly Tsai, and Warhol Soup. Filling out the rest of the bill for the night were Jay Legaspi, Deep Foundation, DJ Boo, and Brooklyn’s own Koba.
Already a fan of the Misnomer(s) from their performance at the Asian Pacific Heritage Festival, I went to this event hyped to see them again, grab as many great music photos as possible, and maybe get in a few interviews (transcripts coming soon).
Setting off the night in the back room, Cynthia Lin took the stage with her guitar accompanied by cellist Meena Cho and had everyone in a trance. The low bluesy tones of their music made for a perfect candlelit scene as many found folding chairs, sat around tables, or stood together fixated on the stage.
On the completely opposite side of the music spectrum, DJ Dstrukt took a hold of the turntables as Dumbfounded, Lyraflyp, and Youthinasia brought on the first hip-hop performances of the night. Repping Los Angeles, Dumbfounded and Lyraflyp performed with the showmanship of Redman and Method Man combining hardcore lyrics with a jovial stage presence. Midway through their set a familiar tune started to play and I couldn’t help but get into the music. Nothing beats the Fresh Prince of Bel Air theme at a hip-hop show! “We add in beats people know to get them hyped and singing along,” stated Dumbfounded. Lyraflyp added Keith Sweat’s This Is How We Do It to the hit list, which got many of the crowd to come closer to the stage. After grabbing a few snapshots and video clips of Dumbfounded and Lyraflyp, Youthinasia jumped in from backstage to bring her fast paced, in your face, lyrical style to the audience. Coming from just off the Vegas Strip and holding it down for the women, Youthinasia performed her rhymes furiously then cooled down and harmonized like Missy Elliot’s old hook days. If you ever YouTube MC Lyte’s I Rock The Party video you’ll know what I mean. Coming from a six girl group called Earthstonez, Youthinasia is touring the country with the others while writing everywhere their minivan takes them.
Starting to feel like a pinball game ball ricocheting between bumpers I joined the back room to watch Heather Park with two backup singers and a four piece band bring the sound of Soul to the show. Coming together from a combo of Craigslist and another show Park attended, the three singers harmonized amazingly. Those outside the doors of the back room might’ve sworn Aretha Franklin had been performing as Park’s voice could easily be mistaken for some of the queens of Soul and R&B. Malikah Love and Yvette Rovira had great timing throughout the show with voices rivaling the vocals of Franklin’s Respect. Those who have gone to concerts and know music could tell all three were passionate about their performances with each closing their eyes at different sections of the music and just hearing their own voices flowing through into the mics. I would love to see them again soon and perhaps with another group I will mention shortly, The Misnomer(s).
At this point I was flying through both rooms, well as much flying as one can when the place is getting jammed like a New York subway train in rush hour. But, more acts were to come and more picture opportunities.
Later in the night Indie artists Warhol Soup took to the stage in the back room. A mixture of high energy rock with some rap-rock mixed in, Warhol Soup had part of the audience wanting to setup a mosh pit but tried their best to stay dancing by their friends. Even Youthinasia couldn’t stop from headbanging to the beats throughout the show and gave the loudest applause and a shout out.
I wasn’t able to see some of the artists as I started interviewing those who were hanging around outside the bar but from the sound and sight of the crowd the show was a huge success and pulled in many people who were looking through the neighborhood for a good place to sit with a drink and good music. As I said, you’ll get to read some of the interviews soon so stay tuned for them.
The night ended with a fantastic performance by the Misnomer(s) on the main stage. A team like no other, the sisters of Sos and Knewdles combine lyrical mastery with classical violin talent to form the crux of the Misnomer(s). Although they tend to be a duo for most of their recordings, the Misnomer(s) are known to add the bass of Colin and the beatboxing of Chesney Snow for their live shows. Since seeing them perform at the Asian Pacific American Heritage Festival I’ve been mesmerized by Sos’s violin and love how she will start playing and then seemingly teleport into her own world like there is nothing going on but her music and it’s perfect. If anyone has a chance to see Hsu-nami, one of the world’s top Erhu players, then you’ll see the same reaction. He closes his eyes and wants to do nothing but play. He just tunes out the world and plays and it’s amazing. If I could see the two of them on stage together it would be as great as Billy Joel and Elton John’s tour. I hope Sos reads this and sets it up. I’ll grab the first ticket!
Finally I’d like to thank Jeannel Garcia and Bonnie Duen for organizing the event, introducing me to many of the artists, and a few of my fellow media people as well as all the artists who came out from all over the US to put on such a great show! Can’t wait for next year!