August 6, 2009

Kool Keith & Ice-T: Kicking it Old School

Hip-hop reigned supreme at last weekend's All Points West Music & Arts Festival. And even with Organized Konfusion and Pharcyde reunions and killer sets from Q-Tip and Jay-Z on Friday, it just didn't get any bigger from a rap fan's perspective than Ice-T's appearance with hip-hop weirdo Kool Keith on Saturday.
Now, special appearances at these all-day festivals usually run like this: the main act hits the stage and somewhere towards the end the special attraction heads in for the finale. That's not how it was for OC's surprise show-up - and "Times Up" recite on Friday - as the New York emcee came in around the mid-way point. But at Coachella a few years back Atmosphere's Slug came out to finish out Murs set only at the finale. Now, during Kool Keith's afternoon set, Sir. Ice entered stage left minutes after Dr. Doom doom doom blasted into his first track. 
In the photo pit at the time, all cameras were on Dr. Octagon, except for me, as I immediately noticed Ice-T's presence on the side of the stage. He later flipped the crowd off (left) and only those photogs who stuck around at the end caught that action on film.
"I'm the most expensive hype man in the business," Ice-T, who's more an actor these days than a microphone fiend, told the overjoyed crowd.
Ice-T stayed on the stage throughout the 45-minute performance, usually adding his classic wordplay on the hooks of Keith's tracks. Ice-T did bust out his own lyrics accapella mid-way through Kool Keith's set, but never dropped any of his hits. The crowd begged, and just as the set was over, Ice-T grabbed the mic. However, the sound man shut the handle down by then, and Ice-T walked off looking a bit dismayed that he didn't get a chance to blast one of his originals. 
The highlight, however, came in the finale, as Ice-T led a crouch-grabbing performance of Keith's classic, "Sex Style." Check out the video below.

On the Beat: Aug. 6-12



Man On Earth

Award-winning New York alt-rockers - who lassoed in RATT’s Stephen Pearcy to sing on their new record and headline Six Flag’s Great Adventure’s (1 Six Flags Blvd., Jackson) Live & Local stage at 1 this afternoon - emit an upbeat Matthew Sweet vibe with a splash of Third Eyed Blind. Free with admission to the park. All-ages.

Snoop Dogg

All together now: “Bow wow wow yippy yo yippy yay, Snoop Dogg’s in the mother-effing house!” - and burning fat spliff-ingtons with Slightly Stoopid, Stephen Marley, Mickey Avalon and Beardo at the Stone Pony Summer Stage (913 Ocean Ave., Asbury Park) at 5 tonight. Tickets cost $37.50 in advance, $42 at the door. All-ages.

The Glory Days

Marlton new found glories headline The All Call Inn (214 Weber Ave., Ewing) at 5 tomorrow night - play synth-saturated mall-punk for their teen sweeties. The Bay State, Media Made and Abandoned Interstate, open. Tickets cost $7. All-ages.

 The Loose Roosters

Shore fuzz-core bulldozers, who jam-out muffled, shoegazery Velvet Underground, play The All Call Inn (214 Weber Ave., Ewing) with La Violencia and Death Ray Charles at 9 tomorrow night. Tickets cost $5. 21-plus.


Dave Lowerly keeps his depressed bar blues vibe going with the ’90s alternative-radio stalwart’s ninth album, “Land of Milk and Honey.” Check it out, and then see if you can squeeze into their concert at The Record Collector (358 Farnsworth Ave., Bordentown) at 7:30 tomorrow night. The tracks are not as self-loathing, but still kind of like being low. Tickets cost $35 in advance, $38 at the door. All-ages.

Dream Theater

The prog-metal kings – going technical on your behind at Convention Hall (1300 Ocean Ave., Asbury Park) at 6 tomorrow night - scientifically build their set lists so that no two shows are alike. Case in point, the group tends to surprise their fans with unrevealed tributes from time-to-time, even blasting a little Hava Nagila for a sold-out crowd in Tel Aviv, Israel this past June 16. Zappa Play Zappa, Big Elf and Scale The Summit, open. Tickets cost $33.75, $49.50, $59.50 and $75. All-ages.  

2 Tone Runts

Twin City rude boys shuffle-up classic-era ska – staying maven in R&B rhythms and ’80s island-punk, while paying tribute to the music’s unity ideology on the track “1979,” and the lyrics, “doesn’t matter if you’re black or white, you party everyday.” The gang stars at Six Flag’s Great Adventure’s (1 Six Flags Blvd., Jackson) “Ska Day” festivities on the Live & Local stage. Across The Aisle, Tsunami Rising, The Sneaky Sea Lions, Case of the Mondays, Last Martyrs of a Lost Cause, The Waffle Stompers and On Display round out the bill. Free with admission to the park. All-ages.

Dinosaur Eyelids

Prehistoric not only by name, this Skillman bunch – kind of getting high like a Hendrix haze all over Championships Sports Bar and Grill (931 Chambers St., Trenton) at 9 p.m. Saturday – spin sloth-slow, “Paranoid-era” Black Sabbath stoner metal with elements of Nebula and Kyuss. Night headlines. The Elephant and The Girl, Slowburn, Bridgetown and Touched By An Uncle, open. Tickets cost $8. 21-plus. 

Delta Falling

Madison’s Taking Back Sunday opens for Seismic Thrust and Starting Over at The All Call Inn (214 Weber Ave., Ewing) at 5 p.m. Saturday. Tickets cost $7. All-ages.

Rabble Rabble

The Chi-town rocker’s blues explosions – tearing down the Mill Hill Basement (300 S. Broad St., Trenton) at 10 p.m. Saturday - can go sonic spacey in a Luna sort of way when not dipping into this curious mixture of country-surf psychedelics. Baltimore hardcore cats, The Marksman, headline the show. Great Society Mind Destroyers, open. Tickets cost $5. 21-plus.

Matt Powers With People

L.A. singer possesses soul-burning vocal seductions a la Kings of Leon’s Caleb Followill. And his band, playing the All Call Inn (214 Weber Ave., Ewing) at 9 p.m. Saturday with Jason Ager and The Brian Stewart Band, follow suit with a festival-fancy soundscape that takes a page out of Kings of Leon’s current area-rock lifeforce. Tickets cost $5. 21-plus.

The Buicks

Close your eyes and you’d think these Bucks County good-old boy’s R&B-treated blues, oldster make-out songs, heart-breaking harmonica solos and ’50s-styled rock ’n’ roll toe tappers were Otis Day the Knights and John Belushi’s man boobs are just about fall out of his toga. Sounds fun, huh? Well, it all goes down at The Record Collector (358 Farnsworth Ave., Bordentown) at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Tickets cost $10 in advance, $12 at the door. All-ages.

Automatic Fire

Life after Silvertide for Philly’s Walt Lafty – debuting his new work at Fuzzstock 2009 (Union Square, New Hope, Pa.) at 10 a.m. Saturday - consists of spiritual-themed, arena-ready hard rock anthems in the essence of Creed, Daughtry and pre-eyeliner Stone Temple Pilots. The free, all-ages, outdoor concert also features Grape Street Riot, the Paul Green School of Rock All-Star Band, Stolen Rhodes, Better Half, Fooling April, Fosterchild and Dive.

Terror! On the Screen

Bayside-blasting Pennsy pop-punks - hitting The All Call Inn (214 Weber Ave., Ewing) at 5 p.m. Sunday - get their rocks off on harmony-driven, hard-lined lullabies for teens whose jeans are way too tight and T-shirts are not ironic enough. Grizzley J. Berry, headlines. Pray For Polanski plays, too. Tickets cost $7. All-ages. 

Too Much Too Fast Too Soon

Trenton grease-rock attitude adjustors (Ex-Rape Babies) – getting rowdy inside The Mill Hill Basement (300 S. Broad St., Trenton) at 10 p.m. Sunday - have a blazin’ new record out, “Fresh N’ Tight,” that flaunts the band’s dangerously intoxicating mix of Motorhead, Supersuckers and the cowboy punk played by that blood-sucking band thrashing the flesh feast from “From Dust Till Dawn.” The Timid Roosevelts, open. Tickets cost $5. 21-plus.

Quincy Mumford

Allenhurst singer-songwriter hits up Six Flag’s Great Adventure’s (1 Six Flags Blvd., Jackson) Hurricane Harbor at 1 p.m. Sunday with fun, frolicking beach-house acoustics built for Jack Johnson fans. Free with admission to the park. All-ages.

Juliette Lewis

The babe from “Natural Born Killers” absorbs the spirit of “Bad Reputation” Joan Jett and “Down By The Water” PJ Harvey when going new wave, heroin chic with her band, The Licks, at the Stone Pony Summer Stage (913 Ocean Ave., Asbury Park) at 5 p.m. Sunday. The actress opens for The Pretenders. Cat Power plays, too. Tickets cost $44 in advance, $45 at the door. All-ages.

The Doughboys

The Plainfield glam-garage black sheep get hairy with their harmonica at The Stone Pony (913 Ocean Ave., Asbury Park) at 10 p.m. Sunday. Tickets cost $10. All-ages.   


Dag-nasty female-fronted Connecticut hardcore hitters – storming The All Call Inn (214 Weber Ave., Ewing) at 7 p.m. Monday - will remind Mill Hill Basement regulars of a less-melodic and much angrier Our Time, and metalcore fans of Walls of Jericho. No Harm Done, Settle For Less, Crucial Dudes and Worlds Apart play, too. Tickets cost $7. All-ages.

The Young Dubliners

If you noticed the influence traditional Irish music has had on the last three Green Day albums, you’ll appreciate how these L.A. rockers - headlining The Record Collector (358 Farnsworth Ave., Bordentown) at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday – march to the mother-land’s beat. For fans of Black 47 and Wall of Voodoo. Tickets cost $16 in advance, $20 at the door. All-ages.


Boston cut-ups, whose juvenile mock-raps, macho-melodic hooks and pop-punk clap-alongs are reminiscent of Sum 41, headline Six Flag’s Great Adventure’s (1 Six Flags Blvd., Jackson) Live & Local stage at 1 p.m. Wednesday. Free with admission to the park. All-ages.

The Phenomenauts

The Oakland robot-a-billy weird-ones go aqua-batty on Asbury Lanes (209 4th Ave., Asbury Park) with Re-Volts and The Leftovers at 8 p.m. Wednesday. Tickets cost $8. 18-plus.

Scott Frost’s On The Beat concert listing appears in The Trentonian every Thursday. If your band is playing around town, hit up the On the Beat webline at


August 5, 2009

Peanut Butter Wolf: Breaking on Through

Peanut Butter Wolf does some pretty cool things with a video mixer. He's the brains behind Stones Throw Records - and before his set at The All Points West Music & Arts Festival at Liberty State Park in Jersey City he played the new Madvillian track - but has really revolutionized the art of mixing music videos. It's made to be seen live and I'm totally hooked. Friday's set was the third time seeing him in 2009. Check out this mix of The Door's "Break On Through," oldster's "Hit In Here," "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," Depeche Mode and The White Stripes.

MSTRKRFT: Tech Heading

Caught Canadian techno heads MSTRKRFT at the All Points West Music & Arts Festival at Liberty State Park in Jersey City. Tried seeing them before, but the crowds were too crazy (or the club didn't put them on until past my bedtime). But because Jay-Z was on the main stage and many fled the festival early crying a river of mud because of the horrendous conditions, it was the smallest crowd I ever observed watching possibly the biggest techno outfit in the world. Below is a brief clip of that performance. 

Rob Swift: All Points Mix Fest

New York cut chemist Rob Swift put on a clinic at last weekend's All Points West Music & Arts Festival in Jersey City.
And no one even knew he was there.
Here's what happened, as I was strolling through the festival grounds Saturday I overheard someone by the State Farm announcing The X-Ecutioner was in the house and doing a live set. Now, I've paid big bucks to see Rob do his turntable juggles in the past, and if what he was saying was the truth and not just a ploy to lure me into the tent, I knew I was in for a treat.
So there Rob was, two turntables and all. And he burned up those tables, too - mixing up rock tracks and cutting and pasting urban calypso. It was a rare treat to see him do his thing up close and personal. Check out the video clip below. 
Rob Swift gets the Led out. Check out that fancy turntable work.

Brother Ali: Albino Rap Attack

Just because he lost the pigment in his skin doesn't mean he can't be a bad-ass emcee. First noticed Brother Ali's rhyme style at Coachella 2007, and he seriously rocked that spot. 
His new record "Us" comes out on Rhymesayers (Atmosphere, MF Doom) Sept. 22. But to keep you clued in on what to expect, hit up this free download of the lead track, "Us."
Here's what the press release said about the new record, "'Us' touches on the strengths and flaws of the human condition, exploring drug abuse, divorce, homophobia and many more topics that most people are scared to touch in their own lives, much less on an album."
Chuck D, Freeway, Joell Ortiz and Stokley Williams of Mint Condition make guest appearances on the record. Should be a good one.

Amanda Blank: Queen B-Girl

She's hot. Got a great ass. And is from Philly. So what's not to love about B-More rap Queen Amanda Blank? The spitfire vixen is known for her work in Spank Rock and overtly sexual lyrics - another reason to love the brunette beauty. Her debut LP, "I Love You," bounces between radio-pop (Ms. Thang has collaborated with Britney Spears before) and electro clash. Good stuff. Go buy it. See her opening for The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, too. And for a taste of our girl's spirited punch, check out The Rusko remix of Might Like You Better (If We Slept Together).

August 2, 2009

All Points West: Day 2 (In the Sun, Yay!)

The sun came out for Day 2 for All Points West Saturday at Liberty State Park in Jersey City.
The stars came out, too, as Ice T (far left) hit the stage with rap weirdo Kool Keith, Chairlift (left) shook portable toilets with their song from the iPod commercial, Rob Swift (X-Ecutioners) (bottom left) spun all day in the State Farm tent and Tokyo Police Club got all Canadian bacon.
Stay tuned for videos of Ice T and Kool Keith doing "Sex Style," and deejay sets from Rob Swift, Peanut Butter Wolf and MSTRKRFT later today.