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Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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The Underground Sound @ Cousin Larry’s
Sunday, March 19, 2006
Last night a large number of artists I support were on stage at Cousin Larry’s in Danbury, CT. From Ill to Substantial I knew every artist on the bill so it just made sense to get out of the house and make the forty five minute jaunt to the city I can’t help but get lost in (don’t ask me why, it just never fails, I always get lost in Danbury).

DJ Halo started the night off by spinning some new underground Hip-Hop, hence the name of the show, mixing in enough classic tracks to keep even the casual Hip-Hop fan’s head bobbing. At around ten thirty he announced it was time for Ill to come to the stage.

For those who’ve never seen Ill perform live they get an initial shock when they see a diminutive white guy hit the stage. His demeanor is pretty normal in reality and I’m sure many of the people at the bar thought he was just another patron who came to see the show, that is, until he picked up the mic. Ill’s intense vocals and even more intense bass lines, provided a healthy start to the performances. He performed a couple new songs as well as a few classics, including “Headlines,” “What Would You Do” and “The Funeral,” that many of the locals knew word for word. By the end of his set quite a few people in the bar went from thinking “who is that guy?” to “wow, he’s dope… I hope he doesn’t kick my ass!”

Up next was Ill Tarzan, the first of three members of the UVInk team to hit the stage. The Brooklyn MC came out with a burst of energy that never seemed to let up. Donning a purple baseball cap and matching bandana around his neck, Ill Tarzan gave listeners plenty to rock to, including “Classic Material” and my personal favorite “Super Spectacular.” Before he got off stage Ill Tarzan hilariously yelled out, “Cousin Larry’s we did it!” Ill Tarzan’s enthusiasm was infections as the crowd couldn’t help but move and have a good time during his set.

Following Ill Tarzan was fellow UVInk labelmate Insanate. Insanate was thrown a curveball from jump as his beat CD did not play in the computer that was hooked up to the sound system (it was a Mac, if anybody’s wondering). Knowing Insanate’s music DJ Halo quickly went through his crates and dug out some beats he felt the MC could rock some of his songs over. This worked as well as either could have hoped and Insanate worked both with the recently found beats and even sans production altogether. At one point Insanate even left the stage and performed in the crowd (thank God for long mic cords!). The best moment of his set, however, was when he cut the beat off, stood front and center and started an acapella verse with the line “your girl worships my nuts / I call her sac-religious.” The combination of the hysterically dope line and Insanate’s booming voice instantly got everyone’s attention.

Bisc1 was next to hit the stage. There were not beat problems for him as he gave everyone in attendance a taste of his incredible freestyling ability along with some select songs off The Basics EP. Bisc1’s parents were in the crowd and he took the time to shout them out. You’ve got to like any MC who shouts out his parents! Much like Ill, Bisc1 doesn’t necessarily look like what the masses may feel a rapper is supposed to look like, but, again much like Ill, once he opens his mouth it’s a wrap, you know the man is talented. Near the end of his set Bisc1 started freestyling about things he was seeing in the bar and people he knew in the crowd. It was a true freestyle that was far batter than the majority of the writtens we hear from most rappers.

Closing out the show was UVInk’s cleanup hitter, Substantial. No matter how many times I see Substantial perform he always finds a way to come with something new. I swear, the man is probably writing something new right now. Despite having a plethora of fresh joints Substantial hit fans with a few favorites from 2005 including one of his few odes to the ladies, “U Can Get It,” and yes there were a few in the crowd who could. One of his new songs, the name of which I don’t know, was a pure punchline song where every line was one punchline after another. He even told the crowd that if they had trouble hearing the punchlines he’d tell the DJ to cut the beat. Substantial finished his show with a moment of music, rather than a moment of silence, for J Dilla. He had the DJ put on a specific track and he called all the people who were gathered in the front row up onto the stage to chill and listen to the beat he’s been using as a part of his show for years.

As the night came to a close DJ Halo allowed any amateur MCs who wanted to spit to come up on stage and drop eight bars of their best stuff.

Sightings: Cousin Larry’s isn’t exactly celeb central but I was spotted a few times. As noted earlier, I knew every artist that was on the bill, but it was really nice, and completely unexpected, to get shouted out by them while they were on stage. It was one of those “hey, I guess I am doing something good for Hip-Hop” moments. One never does it for the accolades, or at least they shouldn’t, but when they come it’s nice a way of knowing you’re doing a good job.

Liks: I did not have a single drink last night, but I saw a few specials, including $2.50 bottles of one brand of beer. Can’t hate on that!

Verdict: Seeing any one of the artists from last night individually is almost always a good time, combine them all and it makes for a show no one should miss. The $5 entrance fee at the door for this show is probably the least you will ever have to pay to see this lineup as there’s no doubt that, if the right people notice them, with their skills they have the ability to be selling out major arenas. See these artists now!

For pics of the show click here
posted by Adam Bernard @ 1:36 PM  
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