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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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Double Duty
Wednesday, January 10, 2007

As everyone knows I go to a lot of events. Concerts, listening parties, album release parties, they’re all a major part of the job. From networking to simply showing support event hopping is essential for what I do, so it should come as no surprise that on the first weekend of 2007 I went to two shows in two nights. Friday night I went to Jim Wolf’s album release party in Bridgeport, CT, and the following night I was living it up in New York City at the Style Factory one year anniversary show. Here’s what went down.

Friday – After my radio show, which ended at 10PM, I packed up my things and headed over to Ray Kelly’s in Bridgeport for Jim Wolf’s album release party. The album, The Stars Never Lie, is fantastic, although I may be a bit biased since I’m listed in his liner notes as his “favorite writer.” Turns out showing up at 10:30PM was perfect timing as Jim was just about ready to go on.

At a little before 11PM Jim and his band were in full swing playing selections off of both his albums and even a few songs, such as “Girl’s Night Out,” that haven’t been released yet. Normally with a $5 show I expect the main act to be on stage for 30-45 minutes. Jim, however, played for over 75 minutes, entertaining the crowded bar that seemed perfectly happy to let him play all night. Throughout Jim’s performance it became clear to me that we were seeing something kind of special, a metamorphosis of sorts from local act to potential star. Jim’s head and shoulders above the acts normally seen in bars and his show had the feel of something you’d expect to see in a much larger venue. At times one could easily get lost in the music, thinking they were at a much larger show, only to be snapped back to reality when they turned around and saw the bar. After his current tour I don’t expect folks will be able to see Jim Wolf performing in ale houses for much longer, he’ll be well on his way to making it to the next level.

Saturday – Speaking of the next level (and speaking of awesome segues), Style Factory’s one year anniversary show was on Saturday (someone cue the Tony Toni Tone music) and it featured the Whose Rhyme Is It Anyway battle of the champions. Bisc1, Rabbi Darkside, A Class, INF, Domer and Syanide were all in the building to duke it out lyrically for three big prizes; $300, an interview with me (hey look at me, I’m a big prize!) and a guest spot on my radio show. Before the competition we had performances by Sentence, who was joined by Sean “Swell” McGaughan of the Metermaids, and the Mindspray crew. DJ Halo did a special set that included a tribute to James Brown and painter Demostina was also in the building creating a fantastic piece during the performances that would be auctioned off at the end of the show.

For the battle of the champions the six competitors were first placed into groups of three to battle as teams in three games. The team that won would then face each other for the top prize. Everyone did fairly well with the team concept, though the combination of INF, Domer and Syanide was slightly more impressive, earning them the nod over Bisc1, Rabbi Darkside and A Class. Looking up at the final three something struck me, we had three competitors of three completely different races (Black, White, Latino). For all the people that question the importance of Hip-Hop that sight on stage is exhibit A as to why it matters and it’s something I’m guessing all the critics of the culture would have a hard time finding anywhere else. Back to the battle.

As the number of MC’s decreased the level of difficulty of the games increased, it was at this point that INF really started to pull away from the pack. He had made his mark in the props game where he had to rhyme about a freaky looking prop. At one point he put it to his chest and exclaimed “I’m Janet Jackson during the Super Bowl.” It was during the simile game, however, where each competitor had to put together as many similes as possible based on what the crowd shouted out, where he basically won the whole thing, putting together an astounding SEVENTEEN endings for the simile “I’m nice as” in thirty seconds. No one else even came close. Eventually the competition came down to INF and Domer with INF being crowned the Whose Rhyme Is It Anyways battle of the champions champion.

Overall it was two great shows in two nights with up and coming artists reaching the next level on each evening. You can’t ask for anything more than that.

Check out pictures from Style Factory’s one year anniversary show, courtesy of me and Heather, at ImageStation.
posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:59 AM  
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