Brookline Stand Up


Meet The Preacher
April 17, 2010, 2:10 pm
Filed under: Brother Ali, Concerts, Unsolicited Advice

A few months ago, I was lamenting to my friend Frank about how I hadn’t been to a good concert in such a long time. The last few shows I had attended had been either unpleasant in some way (aka the Weezy no-show) or flat out disasters (trust me, you don’t wanna know.) After this series of fails, I had lost all desire to ever see a live show again. Frank offered me a solution in the form of Brother Ali.

At first I was unsure. Everything about him just seemed so random. From Minneapolis? Random. Legally blind? Even more random. Albino? Ok, I think you get the idea. But as Frank began to send me some tracks, I started to warm up to the idea and we got tickets to see him perform at the Paradise along with the up-and-coming Toki Wright and Evidence (1/3 of hip-hop group Dilated Peoples.)

Hands down one of the best hip-hop concerts I’ve ever been to. Part of it had to do with the show being in a muchsmaller venue than I’m used to. The Paradise makes for a very intimate setting – the performers were literally sweating all over us. But most of it was because of the raw talent Brother Ali brought to the stage. Honestly, I could go on and on about how great he was, but this isn’t a concert review. This post is all about telling you to go listen to him. Immediately. I promise you will like him.

Though I enjoy my fair share of rap songs about bling, poppin’ bottles and big rims, Brother Ali’s inspiring and powerful lyrics are refreshing. There is an air of intelligence to his words, as opposed to lines like “Dear Mr. Toilet, I’m the shit.” (Sorry to throw you under the bus there, Weezy.) Anyways, I really could go on and on, but you probably should just hear for yourself.

Below are a couple of my favorite Brother Ali tracks based on my very limited collection. Please feel free to contribute.

1. Puzzle

2. Freedom Ain’t Free

3. Uncle Sam Goddamn *If you couldn’t tell from the title, this song harbors some pretty intense anti-American sentiment. In fact, as a result, Verizon Wireless withdrew their sponsorship of Ali after he refused to change the lyrics. Regardless of the controversy, this is just a flatout good song. I love its gritty, bluesy feel.

So, let me know what you think of Brother Ali, contribute any Ali tracks you feel I missed, and seriously, if you hear he’s coming to your town, get tickets. He is ridiculous live and you will become an instant fan. Mark my words.



The Sky Might Fall, But I’m Not Worried At All
March 24, 2010, 7:07 pm
Filed under: Concerts, Kid Cudi, Loves It

Next night, next concert. My love for Kid Cudi has slowly developed since I lived in Paris last Spring and got down to Crooker’s Remix of his hit “Day N’ Nite” at least once a night.  It’s undeniable that it’s a great party song, but I had some initial doubts over whether Cudi had any relevance outside the nightclub.

As I started to gather and listen to more and more of his work, I began to realize that “Day N’ Nite” was just the tip of the Cudi iceberg. His repertoire runs the gamut from mellow and pensive (like “Man On The Moon”) to bumpin’ hip hop (like  “Already Home” with Jay-Z).  He even worked with electronic rock bands MGMT and Ratatat on his eclectic single “Pursuit of Happiness”.

I was very curious to see what Kid Cudi’s unique and versatile sound would be like live. Would I feel like I was at a rap concert? A techno concert? An R&B concert? I still couldn’t tell you what genre the show most resembled, but whatever it was, it worked.

First off, the venue. The House of Blues was the perfect style for Kid Cudi. Just the right size for there to be a ton of people with a lot of energy, but not so big that you don’t feel like you’re actually at the concert if you have shitty seats (trust me, I’ve been there one too many times.) Though as you can see from my pictures and videos, I had a sick view…sorry, had to brag just for a sec.

But more importantly, the Kid. He started off with a high energy excerpt from “Already Home”, the track off of Jay-Z’s Blueprint 3 that I mentioned earlier. (Oh and that is definitely not me squealing in the background in the tail end of that video…definitely not…) He proceeded with a set list that included “Daps & Pounds,” “Day N’ Nite,” “I Poke Her Face,” “Man On The Moon,” “Soundtrack 2 My Life,” “Up And Away,” “Sky Might Fall,” and “Pursuit of Happiness” (not in that order.) Bummed that he didn’t perform my all time favorite “T.G.I.F.”, but I definitely got some new Cudi favorites out of the deal.

I touched upon this in my review of Sam Adams, but I’ll say it again anyways, seeing an artist live can really make or break your fanhood. I mean, I wasn’t a huge fan of Lil Wayne until I saw him once in concert three years ago, and look where that got me. That being said, I am now just short of addicted to Kid Cudi. Several times throughout the concert, the DJ would stop and Cudi would take to the microphone solo. Not only is that a bold move when you’ve been running around breathless on stage, but it really highlighted the richness of his voice and the musicality of his lyrics. I think that kind of stuff gets lost in recordings.

Below I’ve posted videos of two of my favorite performances of the night:

“Sky Might Fall”

“Soundtrack 2 My Life”

I also LOVED his performance of “Pursuit of Happiness” but I sacrificed taking a video of it so that my friend could hear her favorite Cudi song live via phone. Gotta love technology. But anyways, I thoroughly enjoyed the concert in all (if you haven’t picked up on that already) and will definitely continue to explore Kid Cudi’s collection.

If you are a Kid Cudi aficionado, please share your favorite tracks with me either here, via email (brooklinestandup@gmail.com) or on Twitter (@aedubois). I need all the recommendations I can get!



Where Does He Get the Clout?
March 24, 2010, 10:10 am
Filed under: Concerts, Haterade, Lil Wayne, Original Wanksta, Sam Adams, Unsolicited Advice

Okay, so it’s not Sunday. My bad. I had every intention of having my concert reviews posted way before now, but the weather this weekend was just too gorgeous to be spent in front a computer, and come Monday I was smacked in the face with work. So for all of you that I’m sure were just DYING to know how Sam Adams and Kid Cudi were this weekend, I apologize for making you wait.

That being said, let’s talk a little bit about Mr. Sammy Adams. On Friday night, I headed over to Harper’s Ferry in Allston with a couple of friends to see the Cambridge-born rapper perform live. As I mentioned in my previous post, I had a “meh” reaction to Adams’ recently released EP Boston’s Boy and was hoping that this show would give me a solid opinion of him. Mission accomplished.

I hate to be a negative Nancy, so I’ll start off with the positives. First of all, I think that Adams has a great stage presence. He certainly knows how to get a crowd going – for such a small venue I was impressed with how the place erupted when he first ran out on stage and opened with his track “Swang.” Below is a video of him standing backstage getting ready to come out (I’m not creepy we were just standing right by the stage door) and the first minute or so of “Swang.”

See what I mean? Talent-wise he has a lot of potential. Though his EP consists mainly of upbeat tracks that talk about “poppin’ bottles” and “chillin’ with a couple twelves,” I think Adams could hold his own with the big kahunas of party anthems.

That statement comes with a HUGE caveat, though. I had three major problems with this show, and they all have to do with knowing his place as a newcomer to hip hop and appreciating his fans (Weezy, you should probably listen in on this one too).

1. He took forever to come on. The concert was scheduled to start at 8. In the interest of avoiding the inevitable crappy opening act, my friend called ahead to see when Adams would actually be starting his set. We were told 11 pm…yikes. So, we took our sweet time and got to Harper’s Ferry around 11:15, no dice. We were right about the crappy opening act, by the way. To make a long story short, Adams didn’t come on stage until 12:30. Twelve. Thirty. An hour and a half late? Or I guess four and a half hours late, technically. What were you doing back there, Sammy?

2. 25 minute set? Really? I’m not kidding. After getting over my frustration of waiting an hour and a half for Sam to come on, I was finally starting to get into the performance and began to revise the pissed-off review I was already drafting in my head…and then he went off-stage. At first we thought maybe it was just some sort of intermission, but as people started to filter out, we realized that was it. That was the show. To be fair, I realize that he’s new and probably doesn’t have enough material to put on a full-blown concert. I mean, his EP was only eight songs after all. But come on, I paid 14 bucks for this (which is the equivalent of like 50 bucks to a broke college student) – couldn’t he have at least been scribbling down a song or something while we waited an hour and a half for him?

3. There were a bajillion people on stage. This one isn’t quite as big of a deal, but still bugged me. I’ve been to many a rap concert in my day. For some reason, rappers feel that they need to have their posse or whatever roaming around on-stage with microphones and intermittently joining in on the performance. I’ve questioned it, never understood it, but accepted it. But Harper’s Ferry is a very small venue, and as an up-and-coming artist I think Sam needs to keep his onstage posse to a minimum and have the focus be on him. Maybe I’m the only person that was bothered by that, but you can look at the picture below and judge for yourself.

Whoa, right? It’s like playing Where’s Waldo trying to find Sammy somewhere in there. So, while I honestly think that this kid has a lot of potential, he really needs to check his ego at the door and remember that he doesn’t yet have the clout to keep his fans waiting. Loyal fans are the key to his ultimate success, after all. To sum up, in the words of my dear friend and fellow concert-goer Leslie, “Get back to me when you’re a little more famous, Sammy.”

Check out my YouTube account for his performances of SwangI Hate College RemixDriving Me CrazyPoker Face Remix and Tab Open. What do you think of his music/stage presence? Does his talent match his swagger?



T.G.I.F.
March 19, 2010, 11:41 pm
Filed under: Concerts, Kid Cudi, Sam Adams | Tags: , ,

After a long, long week it is FINALLY Friday! I guess I can’t really complain about this week, Wednesday was St. Patrick’s Day after all. But I have been particularly anxious for this week to be over with because I have tickets to not one, but TWO rap concerts this weekend. That’s right.

Tonight, I’m heading to Harper’s Ferry (a small-ish venue in Allston, MA) to see Boston-based rapper Sam Adams perform. He’s fairly new to the hip hop scene, though many of you might be familiar with his remix of Asher Roth’s hit “I Love College.” Below is Sam Adams’ “I Hate College Remix.”

I had been hoping to blog about him eventually, especially after the release of his first EP Boston’s Boy a couple of weeks ago. I’ve listened to his album but haven’t formed a solid opinion on him yet, so hopefully seeing him perform live in my very own hood will help me decide.

Concert #2 is Kid Cudi tomorrow night at Boston’s House of Blues. If you don’t know who Kid Cudi is, get to know him fast. He is awesome. His big hit “Day N’ Nite” is a pretty great club song, but hardly showcases what this guy is capable of. I’m super excited to see him live and am hoping he performs “T.G.I.F. (Thank God I’m Fresh),” my personal favorite Kid Cudi song which I have featured in the video below.

Check back in Sunday for reviews of both concerts and more extensive posts on each artist. Have a great weekend!