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!

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Heads In Harmony Festival Moves to Last Breath Farm in Norridgewock, ME

The 2012 festival season is almost here! Heads in Harmony will be announcing their line up in less than a week for the Heads in Harmony 2 Festival “Energy Joins All” being held the weekend of September 27th-30th. Heads in Harmony and Greenbean Productions have decided to move this year’s event to Last Breath Farm in Norridgewock, ME (same location that Maine Electronic Music Fest was held last year). The farm has been owned by the Rogers Family for the past 250 years! It consists of 3 huge fields, a motor-cross track, a stage of it’s own, and great camping sites in the woods.

HIH2 “Energy Joins All” will be hosted by Greenbean Productions, a grass-roots promotional company out of Boston, MA. Greenbean Productions brought over 50 bands to last year’s Heads in Harmony festival at the Freedom Field in Harmony, ME including Otis Grove, The Breakfast, Dopapod, Wobblesauce, and Goosepimp Orchestra!  So far, this year’s line up for HIH2 “Energy Joins All” consists of The Jerry Garcia Band feat. Melvin Seals, Viral Sound, and Jammin’ Toast.

On Tuesday, March 13th, those three bands will be playing the Official Line-up Announcement Party at The Middle East (Downstairs) in Cambridge, MA! Tickets for Heads In Harmony 2 “Energy Joins All” will be buy 1 get 1 FREE at this show. The show starts at 8:30 and is 18+. Get your tickets for the Official Line-up Announcement Party Here! This will be an awesome show, and a great opportunity to save money on tickets to the festival you will have to attend this year!

Head over to the Heads in Harmony Website for more information about the “Energy Joins All” Festival in Norridgewock, ME
Grab your HIH2 tickets Here! (presale is only $50! $60 at the gate)
Join The Mailing List for any updates, information and news regarding HIH2!

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The Medicine in the Icebox

Pt Burnem, Paulie Think, and Eyenine are Icebox.  Its hard not to have a physical reaction when an artist or performer gets into your personal space. Icebox chose to set up on the audience floor instead of on the stage where rappers and artists usually do their thing at the Big Easy. That was my first clue that this show would be unlike ay other rap show I had seen. A live Icebox show is a carefully constructed performance brought to life; not just an  auditory concept. They offer a more diverse experience that involves their audience, bringing you in as a contributing participant rather than allowing you to remain a passive observer. This performance style creates an environment that is very “in the moment” and organic. I had never seen or heard anything like it, and this increased it’s impact even more. It’s very powerful to be artfully drawn out of your own world-view long enough to really become part of something else, and Icebox seems to facilitate an environment where this is likely to happen!

I imagine taking 3 powerful players from the underground hip hop world and creating a super group has its difficulties. It must be a work of art to attempt to take the strengths of each person, and make them work as a part of a greater whole, rather than being the whole in and of itself. I think the performance aspect of the Icebox experience may originate in PT Burnem’s style, and I think it is important to executing the message that their powerfully and intellectually worded rhymes hold within. If you are feeling something, and not just listening to it, it has far greater impact. Eyenine has a style that I would have thought wouldn’t play well with others; usually involving insanely fast delivery and a specifically selected range of background beats and music. However, it appears he is highly adaptable and able to bring those strengths, but in a modified version that also facilitates and complements the groups “intended” sound (I assume I know what they intend). Paulie Think is the member I am least familiar with, but his style is integral to engaging the audience and it seems he may be the keystone of the group. He seems to fill the role of moderator and enabler; perhaps the individual whose personality and style is instrumental in creating the environment necessary for the Icebox phenomenon to fulfill its potential.

One cannot address the group without referencing what they are quite literally saying. The messages are powerful, articulate and often dark, but not overtly depressing. “We are connected, however ill directed” while simply put, is a powerful understatement that references not just the negative aspects of our species’ plight, but also the potential. Check out the video here:

The idea is to go experience Icebox live. The key aspect of the underground rap music scene, from an outsider’s perspective, is the interactive and direct intent to the music. It is not created in a void, and nor do they want it to be; there are messages to be received, lessons to be learned, and a powerful element of solidarity that can only be fully nourishing when experienced in the live performance. You need to see this group live because it is quite literally good for you. Just what the witch doctor ordered.

Check out the Icebox live show schedule below:

-Heather

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

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

2011 Rap Radar

We wanted to take a minute to mention some of the albums that have hit our radar throughout 2011. Not all of them came out in 2011…but most of them!

This album is great! The thing I love most about a lot of these songs is Kirby Dominant’s willingness to address both the potential absurdity of interacting with people (“Weed Man”), and the typical insecurities that often preoccupy our minds. Kirby basically introduces himself as a whale in the second track (“Orca”): “I feel like a whale, I look like a whale/I drink like a whale, can’t you fuckin tell?/I’m drownin in the sea of life…” (Watch the video Here). This is an interesting claim…but a little self-deprecation is always amusing, and helps to create some balance in terms of the tone of the album. The next track is “Feeling Inside” and it makes me want to celebrate life for a minute or two. (“This song is beautiful, oh my god!”) They released the video for this track earlier this month.
Check it out:

While some typical aspects of rap and hip hop can be found on this album (testosterone driven wordplay, bangin’ beats, & swagger), they are all filtered through the Paranoid Castle perspective. Which consists of a pleasant balance between honor and mockery.
To thoroughly enjoy this album: Buy It, Appreciate Satire.

  • TrailsTrails &Co. EP – November 2011

Trails consists of rapper Syn The Shaman and producer/DJ theLin. The chemistry is spot on between these two, and it really creates a seamless delivery both on stage and on the Trails & Co. EP. Four local artists are featured throughout the EP: O.D., Ill By Instinct, Kristina Kentigian, and ALT (who is featured on three out of the six tracks) all make this EP extra enjoyable! Get some Trails tunes Here!

Here’s the Trails video for the track “It Goes On” which is not actually on this EP…It’s on their full length album Fits & Starts (2010), but it’s one of the stronger tracks on the album, and really represents the evolved style that is displayed on the Trails&Co. EP.

  • El Shupacabra (The Floppy Disk Jockey) – Shupe’s Back – 2011

El Shupacabra is personally a trusted source within the Portland scene. Shupe is approximately 25% of the local group Sandbag, and holds down the weekly Rap Night at The Big Easy. He seems to be constantly contributing to the local scene, yet manages to stay a bit elusive…which is why I have no links in this section, and I can’t really tell you where to get this album, other than come to Rap Night sometime and see if he has any left.

Hell, we’re lucky there’s video of the performance at Geno‘s the night he released Shupe’s Back:

I’m pretty sure he took some material he had kickin’ around and threw the whole thing together in under a week. And it’s damn good. Ill By Instinct prays on Track 5 (“IBI’s Prayer”), and MC 22 is featured on Track 8, “Eat Your Dinner.” Go find Shupe’s Back. It’s sentimental and progressive. And probably like, 3 bucks.

I saw his Homeless performance back in September when he was on tour with Aceyalone, and I really dug it. I hadn’t listened to any of his recorded stuff yet though, and I think he’s still working on capturing his live energy in his recordings. Homeless has a style of his own, but he’s feelin’ things out still. He makes a lot of direct references in his songs that seem to carry his weight. I wanna know what effect these references have directly on his perspective. It’s interesting to know what influences someone, but it’s more interesting to find out why. I really like the song “Sophia Loren.” It’s personal. First person narrative revealing some truth.

Here’s the video for the song “Dream World”:

MC Homeless is working closely with some great artists…I’m pretty excited to see how his sound evolves. Keepin’ an eye on this cat!

Stay posted about Homeless stuff on Facebook, Check the album out Here

  • Adeem – Made in New Hampshire – Adeem & DJ MF Shalem – 2011

Sooo…I haven’t actually listened to this album yet, but I got to hear this song off of it: “Get It
I dig this track, and I’m into Adeem in general. Plus, he’s representin’ NH, and so am I (for now). You can grab the album Here. (This is also a Note to Self)

  • Lady Essence – Right Now – Aug 2011 – P. Dank. Check out the interview and album review Here

Check out some of this stuff if you haven’t! I made it super easy for you. Links and videos galore.
I’d also like to mention that I’ve seen all of these acts live at Rap Night in Portland at The Big Easy. Wednesday Nights.

Lady Essence: “Right Now” Album Review and Interview

Lady Essence released her first solo album, Right Now, this past August. Essence is channeling the creative aspects of rap, and addressing a lot of relevant social and political issues while delivering strong insight into herself as a person and an artist. Don’t get caught up on the arrangement of her chromosomes or you’ll be missin’ the point.

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A Love Letter to Bear Creek Music and Arts Festival

Bear Creek isn’t just a typical music festival. It’s a phenomenon. Meaning Bear Creek is;

  1. something known through the senses rather than by thought or intuition
  2. a temporal or spatiotemporal object of sensory experience
  3. a rare or significant fact or event

Bear Creek Music and Arts festival is all of these and so much more. So much has been said about this event already, that all that is left for me to offer is my direct personal account of my Bear Creek festival experience. Here goes.

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Rap Night 10/26 with Spose & Sly Chi, Educated Advocates, and In The Attic

Last Wednesday’s Rap Night was epic on many levels! There was great support for the scene and mutual respect for artists and everyone involved.

In The Attic really set the vibe, gettin’ the crowd going with a seamless delivery. It was pretty impressive how spot on they were, especially because one of their members (O*Zee) actually wasn’t able to make it. Apparently some work best under pressure. Lady Essence and Shane Reis came together and shared some songs off their upcoming mixtape! So, if you weren’t there, then you missed it….know what I’m sayin?

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Heads in Harmony; A Maine Vocals Festival

This year was The Way Live Should Be’s second year attending a Maine Vocals festival in Harmony, ME.

Maine Vocals is a great Maine activist group fighting for Marijuana Legalization; they have a long history in this state of peaceful advocacy and resistance. The Heads in Harmony festival this past weekend has abundant evidence of their continuing effort for improved marijuana laws. From Captain Joint, to the plants on stage, people everywhere at at the festival were blatantly standing up for their rights. Marijuana prohibition is ridiculous, unjust, profoundly unconstitutional and this festival is one way Maine activists can join together and be proud of their values and make a stand against failing laws. Read more of this post

Preview: Bear Creek Music Festival in Live Oak, FL Nov. 10-13

After attending Bear Creek for the first time last year, we’ve decided this is our absolute favorite festival. It’s held within a beautiful venue and seems to have been built on a foundation of love! Utilizing a more grassroots style of organization, there is a strong sense of family among the coordinators, artists, and fans…having picked up on that vibe, we’re really looking forward to getting back to The Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak, FL for Bear Creek this year, November 10th-13th!

Poster designed by Stanley Mouse!


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