The Way Live Should Be

Your source for show and CD reviews, festival previews, and interviews with your favorite artists playing around New England and beyond!

Monthly Archives: January 2012

An Appeal to the People Who “Liked” Us Before We Wrote About Rap A Lot

This is an appeal to all the “fans” of The Way Live Should Be who liked us before we (Kim Morrison) started writing about rap a lot. I want to explain to you why you should come to Rap Night at the Big Easy, if you haven’t before. First, though, I am going to explain to you WHY I am going to be the one writing this appeal.

  1. I am completely naive on the subject.
  2. I  may have some understanding of the difference between the terms “hip hop”, “rap”, and “emcee”, but it’s still kinda shaky, so I don’t have the confidence to say them out loud.
  3. I grew up on Kiss and Collective Soul.
  4. My top ten favorite bands (which include The Talking Heads, Morphine, Yonder Mountain String Band, and Buckethead) do not include ANY “raphiphopemcees” .

To make it Clear, I am writing this piece with the Clear disclaimer that I Know Nothing! So, how can knowing nothing make me well equipped to write about something? The point I am going to try to make to You, the jam band lover, metal head, festival scene connoisseur, dub step raver, etc… is that you should really give the Portland, ME rap scene a chance. I have always been a hefty consumer of instrumental music; especially the kind you can go see live and there are musicians playing instruments right in front of you. (I do not mean to insinuate that hip hop cannot also be instrumental, of course it can!). I have always LOVED to dance, I mean really rock out, like people do at dub step shows or whatever. I have always told my hip-hop loving friends that I just couldn’t find anything in that genre that lit my brain up like Phish, or Primus, or Pretty Lights.

Well, I have now. I have only been to 2.5 rap shows at the Big Easy and I saw stuff I really didn’t enjoy. BUT. I also saw stuff I really, really appreciated.  As far as I know, there is almost always more than one artist at each rap night and they always end the night with open mic. So every time you check out Rap Night at the Big Easy you are guaranteed exposure to more than one style, artist, and/or sound. People come from all over the Northeast (Massachusetts, New York, New Hampshire, etc) to play at Rap Night and other Big Easy and Portland, ME hip hop shows. Many of them are super intelligent, enlightening, and skilled at what they do. I have absolutely NO knowledge of the culture, the history, or the technique of what these people are doing and yet I have found something to love every time. I even danced!

This is a tough article to write, because I don’t have the vocabulary. But I want to try to convey to you part of what has attracted Kim, and now me, to this scene.  Kim has been writing all these fantastic, thoughtful pieces on hip hop artists from Maine and New Hampshire and they are often full of constructive commentary on the scene as well. There is a strong sense of solidarity, a “from the ground up” phenomenon, that is occurring in the Portland, ME hip-hop world. It is something Kim and I both starve to see in all genres of local music in our area, but usually find lacking. It appears that the local emcees and rappers and hip-hoppers have been doing it fairly well, and for quite some time. Which is not to say there aren’t “problems”; problems sustaining whatever it is that is happening, problems with the media through which the word gets out, but at least they are mutually supportive and TRYING… trying to maintain a real life community. Go to rap night… if you talk with people you will feel it. Listen to the music; you will feel it. Pay attention to the “performers”; you will feel it. There is something that these people are doing that is worth experiencing, because we just haven’t seen anything like it in any other musical genres in our area. There is a real community of actual human beings involved, producing music, and supporting one another and it just… is amazing to witness.

I am not guaranteeing you will see this right away. I am not guaranteeing you will like the artists you see. What I am telling you is that I am someone who has no affinity for or understanding of the hip hop world and when I go to Rap Night at the Big Easy I just KNOW there is something special going on. And it is addictive.

So I recommend you read what Kim Morrison has been writing about in our past entries regarding local hip hop artists. There are some truly thoughtful observations and you might get turned on to one of the people she has written about; they are always insightful, intelligent, and committed to high quality craftsmanship. I recommend you come to more than one Rap Night at the Big Easy and get a feel for what is happening. I’m not sure I personally understand it yet, but I can still feel it and tap into it. I know that it is something unique, but it’s more than that. It’s something I feel is essential to the human experience!

Upcoming shows to try out.

Rap Night presents: Cam Groves, Trails, OD, and more! This upcoming Wednesday Jan 25

SPDRHRTS, PT BURNEM, FREE STEAK DINNER, 32 FRENCH @ Geno’sThurs. Jan. 26

The 5th Annual Ruckus Cup Classic Emcee Battle Friday February 3

Rap Night every Wednesday at the Big Easy; stay tuned to the Rap-Night Portland facebook page to find out who will perform!

Written by Heather Omand

Rap-O-Lantern by Kim Morrison

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The Intergalactic Nemesis: A Good Idea Turned Into A Gimmick

 

Q- What is The Intergalactic Nemesis?
A- It’s watching a great idea get ruined by a terrible comic.

When I was offered a ticket to see The Intergalactic Nemesis, a live action, radio play, graphic novel spectacle, I was initially excited. “What a great idea; actors reading in character, fifty by fifty comic frames, a sound effects guy and piano accompaniment…how has no one done this before?” I thought. When I saw The Intergalactic Nemesis, I was disappointed: “That really should have been better, especially for a first of its kind multimedia event. That story was lackluster as fuck.” As I attempt to write this review, I’m down right pissed.

Sitting through this affair was like watching M. Night Shyamalan’s whole career in two hours. I went from being as giddy as a school child, to being bored and ready to call it quits early, to frothing with rage. The Intergalactic Nemesis follows spunky girl reporter, Molly Sloan, her eternally cock teased boy assistant, Timmy Mendez, and the guy from terminator, who was sent back in time by the robots. The trio spend the bloated run time of this performance scurrying through what felt like two completely different stories, as they struggled to save the earth by committing mass genocide on a villainous alien race that was given absolutely no motivation for their dickery, except looking like slimy alligators. The first half was, contextually, fairly decent. It had a lot of hokey set pieces, like a haunted mansion. It at least had something resembling a solid tone. Then, the intermission came and everything that followed went right off the rails. First thing after intermission they pulled a “wait nevermind” on the cliffhanger they had just set up. Then, there as an alien robot, and they are fighting the slime monsters and ohh my god this just sucks now. I really am not going to waste my time attempting summarize what Jason Neulander just tried to pass off as a story here. The Galactic Nemesis is terrible. It’s a spliced together mess of a plot, and the only reason it’s making any headway is because of the cool idea they are using as a cheap gimmick. And that is where the anger really starts.

If sitting through that steamer of a story wasn’t bad enough, what really got me down into the pits of internet complaining was the general wastefulness of this production. I’m going to apologize to all the offended Galactic Nemesis fans, because I don’t know anything about this production’s history, and I may be completely off base. Here is what I think brought about this spectacular waste of time: Jason Neulander got an idea to do a live action comic book thing, but he didn’t want to write a whole new piece, because that would be too much work. So, he reworked the whole Intergalactic Nemesis thing, and found some artist to pen some cells, and BAM, a great idea is ruined by a lazy bastard. This is my biggest gripe with The Intergalactic Nemesis. In a few years, if some talented story-teller comes along and writes a graphic novel that is leaps and bounds beyond The Intergalactic Nemesis (a feat your average grade schooler could accomplish), and then wants to do the live action thing, their work will forever be in the shadow of this mess. The producers here took a great idea and forgot that it would need a great story to go with it. They wasted the freshness of this concept on a lousy script. So, go see The Intergalactic Nemesis when it comes to New England (Hartford CT, Concord NH), but I guarantee you will leave the theater feeling like you just got tricked into giving up your virginity in some cheap motel room.

-Corey LayHee