Jack Freeman (feat. Montana), Radio Galaxy The Breakfast Klub May 28, 2011
12:30 p.m.: Jack Freeman, local R&B wunderkind, attained "I Need To Listen To Whatever This Guy Sends Me As Soon As He Sends It To Me" status* last year when he released his impressive, alluring Dark Liquor EP. We've been trying to catch him live since then. It's proved a feat paramount to catching a leopard by its tail or finding meaning in a Waka Flocka song, i.e. fucking impossible.
But today is the day. We've just heard that he'll be performing as part of the lineup for the One Mic R&B thing they've recently started doing the last Saturday of each month at The Breakfast Klub. We are en route. This must be what it felt like when Percy Fawcett was chasing down The Lost City of Z.
12:30:15: *There are several status levels an artist can attain:
a) "I Need To Listen To Whatever This Guy Sends Me As Soon As He Sends It To Me"
b) "I'll Listen To This Guy's Stuff Tuesday Evening When I Go Through The Rest Of The MP3s I Received This Week"
c) "Maybe I'll Listen To This Guy's Stuff This Coming Thursday If They're Showing Reruns of either The Office, Community or Parks and Recreation"
d) "I'll Make Sure To Send This Guy An Email In The Morning Saying I Received His MP3 But Never, Ever Listen To It Because It Will Inevitably Be Like If My Ears Were Involved In A Car Wreck"
12:47: Arrived. See, the trick to parking illegally is to make sure that you station yourself at such a vantage point that, should a tow truck driver be dispatched towards your locale, you can readily sprint to your car and move it before he gets there. That's how that works.
12:49: There are three acts on the bill. Nya and Atmosphere were finishing as we walked up. Freeman is second and Radio Galaxy, a mostly unknown act made knowable because the production is done by King Midas from H.I.S.D., is third. The show is being held outside underneath tents in the parking lot of the venue.
A quick scan around reveals a bunch of familiar faces, including John Dew, he of the unimpeachable facial hair; Thurogood Wordsmith, he of the gurgly-voiced mayhem; King Midas, he of the impressive production; Montana, he of the unending coolness; DJ Don, he of the koala-bear likeability, and more. There are also about 100 people here, 70 or so of whom are in line waiting to get food. Neat, neat.
12:51: Hey, it's 100 degrees outside, what should I wear to this concert? "Uh, what about black jeans, a black button-up shirt and black Converse?" Perfect.
12:59: Freeman's about to go on. It appears that Montana will be joining him.
12:59:15: Wait. So Montana has straight teeth, cool hair, raps, films videos and plays the guitar too? Jesus, man. This shit isn't even fair.
1:03: In your earphones, Freeman's a contemporary version of a retro R&B singer, if that makes any sense at all. Watching him perform live adds a new wrinkle to the his mystique though. He's more D'Angelo than Anthony Hamilton, but he's more Bilal than D'Angelo, even though he's more Hamilton than Bilal.
Is everyone else properly confused now? Good.
1:04: So apparently Freeman and Montana have a joint EP that they're working on, hence their performance together today. They've burned through some of their new stuff already. It's hard to tell exactly how good it is in this setting -waffles have long been known to exaggerate music's effectiveness - but the initial reaction from the crowd is positive.
1:07: Freeman's sing-song grittiness translates live. His tank top does not.
1:10: Jack Freeman is wearing a watch? That's curiously disappointing. We always assumed that he'd answer "Do you know what time it is?" with a steamy, extended gaze into your eyes, then an "It's time to make love, by my watch," followed by you looking at his wrist and realizing that he's not wearing one.
1:11: He's finishing up with "Figure It Out," the key track from Dark Liquor. A few people are chanting for an encore. It's an understandable request, and one that he dodges diplomatically ("I don't want to take time from anyone else's set"). Such is life. On your iPod or in person, Freeman is a winner.
1:29: H.I.S.D.'s rapping quadrisaurus - Savvi, Equality, Ldavoice and Scottie Spitten - has materialized. Love those guys. When we compiled the list of the year's best albums last December, the placement of their The Weakend at the eleventh spot evoked a bunch of hate emails. Fans of "conscious rap" are ironically aggressive.
1:35: Radio Galaxy is up. Not much is known about them; as far as we can tell, the group is comprised of a woman singer, a male DJ and a male producer. They've been together for about a year and a half, according to their producer, King Midas, and will be the next act to release an album under the Peace Uv Mine umbrella.
1:44: Radio Galaxy: Ethereal neo-soul. Not surprised by their sound: Anybody that knows anything about H.I.S.D. and the artists that they cosign. More will need to be heard, but, at the moment, RG's spacey, audio-incents are enjoyable. More on them in the future, for certain.
Personal Bias: People really hate announcer Joe Buck, but I don't mind him too much.
The Crowd: Featured girls who had lots and lots of hair.
Overheard In the Crowd: "Yes, Lord," shouted during Freeman's cathartic "Figure It Out."
Random Notebook Dump: Sadly, all of my APBRmetrics reveal that the Miami Heat are going to crush the Dallas Mavericks.
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