Thursday night at the Hi-Dive was loud. Electronic machines and powerful lyrics were amplified throughout the small venue on Broadway; although few in attendance were there to witness it, the artists on stage didn't hold back. It kind of felt like watching a documentary of exotic animals in their natural habitat. The local hip hop performers on stage that evening were not lacking in talent or stage presence; the pairing of Sole and Abstract Collective helped ground the evening in words of action, while Wanderdusk helped animated the flavor of the Hi-Dive with more dreamy and inspirational themes.
The Abstract Collective has a dedicated vibraphone player included in their lineup; when you notice this, you immediately know that these guys aren't your average hip hop group (I mean, really, how cool is that?). Along with the vibraphone, the Abstract Collective bring a full band to the stage which includes drums, bass guitar and keyboards.
The two MCs for the group, Ari Max Wechsler and Matt Melsen, take turns accompanying their fellow musicians on stage in a pleasant harmony of words and sound. The group has more of a positive bend to them, with lyrics spoken intelligently about making positive change. During their set, the group performed a cover by Telefon Tel Aviv and had a guest MC join them on stage.
Sole, aka Tim Holland, performed solo with some remixed songs. He started with "Theme" which was remixed with Lana Del Rey's "Blue Jeans". Holland also played new music, previewing a song called "Denver Nights" which was inspired by the police interaction experienced during the Occupy Denver days. Holland told us a little about his involvement with the occupiers in an interview I posted on the blog just last week. "They're an armed gang, terrorizing the streets. Beating the fuck out of me and my friends on a regular basis," said Holland. In response to the sparse crowd, he mentioned that it must have been due to "all the Sole fans [were] locked up in the FEMA camp". Sole's music is characterized by the political undertones that strongly highlight inequality and injustice that exists in our country, and you might just learn something about current affairs if you give him a listen. On stage, Holland was incredibly personable and openly talked to the crowd throughout his set; when the sound guy gave him a quick time check toward the end of his set, he looked at the queue on his computer and said, "That's okay buddy, I get paid by the hour."
Check out more photos from the night on the Concerted Effort Facebook page.