It's been quite a while since Heiruspecs has released an album. Night Falls, their follow up to their self-titled album (which is awesome, by the way), was released on April 22.
Night Falls represents the culmination of work from the past six years. It's clear Felix, one of the MCs, has focused hard and really tightened up his raps. It's almost effortless on this album. While much of the album relies on the signature Heiruspecs sound, some new sonic additions have been added to the mix in the form of harmonies and a greater emphasis on sung notes as opposed to straight raps.
As for the show itself, Heiruspecs is known for their live shows and this show was no different. DJ Neviator, Dem Atlas, and Allan Kingdom opened the show and were great choices to complement the past and present phases of the Heiruspecs sound.
The crowd was into it as well, rounding out the show with an emphatic cheer session before the encores.
Let me start by asking a question: Can you party through six straight hours of EDM? Well, as it turns out, I can. Not sure how, but it was a lot of fun finding out. I took it at my own pace, though. Some of the folks I was near during the show were dancing hardcore the whole time. Kudos to them and their stamina.
I've met nothing but the nicest, friendliest people at Skyway shows and this show was no exception. Always people just looking to have a good time. Cheers to all of you who showed up and got down.
Who doesn't love dyeing Easter eggs? Thursday we got the girls together and had a big production line of egg dyeing. We went through ten dozen eggs — which, now that I think about it, will be a joy to go through after. Lots of different ideas in terms of technique, and they all came out great.
Ah, this takes me back. Listening to the Toadies, right during my formative musical years. It's been 20 years since Rubberneck, their breakout album, was released. In celebration of that anniversary, The Toadies are touring, playing the album front to back. Hearing them at First Ave. it's like they never left. They sound as crisp as they did when I heard it way back when.
I got to hear Supersuckers for the first time, too. The self-proclaimed Greatest Rock Band in the World didn't disappoint. Great showmanship. Battleme from Portland, OR, opened. They had a different vibe that really contrasted Supersuckers well.
Eighteen Minutes. That's all it took to sell out the shows at the Fitz. Granted, the Twin Cities have always had a lot of love for Cloud Cult, but that is just amazing. I'm happy to see that they are really appreciated for what they do. Performing two full sets as they did in January in Duluth, Cloud Cult delivered on all counts.
The set lists were fairly similar to the previous acoustic/electric sets — which is to be expected, considering that there are few, if any, overlaps between the two sets. The coordination of the songs seems to be getting tighter as they perform them in this arrangement more and more. The timing is there, and smiles abounded from the group during each song.
Photos here are from the second night only, as the Current Recorded the first night.
Well, it's been a while since I've had any new stuff to post. Went through quite a drought of about six weeks. Now admittedly, I did go to two shows last week, but one was a no-cameras, no-cell-phones type, and the other didn't really seem appropriate to shoot. So here we are, shooting one of my favorites, Astronautalis. He's so animated and inviting at his shows, you can't help but enjoy yourself (not that I was fighting it!).
K.Visions and Toki Wright opened. I haven't seen K. Visions before. He's got a good stage presence, Toki I've seen before, but only as a walk-on feature at Heiruspecs shows. I really dug his peaceful style. Good stuff. Lydia Liza of Bomba de Luz was also on in support and sounded great.
A lesson learned from this show: Don't take a security guard's word for what you have access to. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying you should ignore them — you'll end up shooting the show from the street doing that — but do get confirmation from someone with some authority.
Going to a show without any pre-knowledge of the setup can be tricky. It starts with knowing what to bring. Can you use a flash? If not, leave that at home and save on space in your bag. Is there pit access? Yes? Bring your wide angles. No? Better bring a tele-photo and look for a vantage point. No vantage point? Get there early and camp up front with some fast glass and/or image stabilization, depning on how rowdy the crowd gets.
In this case it was a blind entrance, or in other words, I went in not knowing what I was in for. I was at a show at the Skyway the week before, so I saw that there was a pit. As such, I brought a couple wide lenses with me, and as a safety, one medium telephoto. I'm there super early because A. I know the show is sold out, and B. This is a techno show; so the crowd is going to be awesome and insane.
Standing up front, right by the pit entrance, I ask the security guard if there's pit access. He said no. Not for the openers, not for the first three songs, not at all.
I asked the person at the entrance desk, who gave me my photo pass, and she said there was. Not trying to call the guy out, but I got the impression that he might be misinformed. I wasn't worried at the time, since I was front row anyway and it was early yet. As the night went on, there were no photographers in the pit, so I assumed he was right. However, about two songs in to Big Gigantic, I see a guy get right in to the pit. What's the deal? I asked another security guard and he said he was overruled specifically for this person. This is after I confirmed with him and what looked to be the head of security that there were to be no photographers in the pit. Lo and behold, another song later, there are three more photographers in the pit.
Now, I don't discount the security here. They were doing exactly what they were told to do and I respect that. It would have been nice to have them at least let me in once they saw that their zero-tolerance move was BS, but hey, it's not their call. And that is the part I learned. It's NOT their call. If you know you're supposed to have access, get someone else involved. Find someone outside of security to overrule them or get some clarification. I decided to camp up front and the pit access would have been great, but not critical. However, I would have preferred the option of mobility. Oh well, now I know.
Luminescence opened the show and while the music was chill and well done, it was too chill for my taste. I really dug Manic Focus, who managed to remix some Trampled By Turtles into his set. Top-notch work on his part.
Big Gigantic was more than I expected. I like that they brought non-electronic instruments into their set. Makes it all the more interesting.
I don't know if I've said this too much, but I love Cloud Cult. There's just something about the energy you feel when listening to their music. It just makes you feel like you can take on the world. I've jokingly referred to it as "Pagan Revival." Which isn't exactly accurate, but it's as close as I can estimate if I want to put a label on it. Their music is uplifting and has heavy roots in spirituality, but does so without neccessarily introducing religion into it — or at least a set, defined religion, anyway.
I drove up from the Cities for this one, knowing that hey, I'll have the day off, and the Clyde Center is usually a pretty good place to see a show. This show was special, however, as it kicked off a string of dates for the band where they play two whole sets. No opener, just two and a half hours of Cloud Cult. Talk about a deal for me! The first set was all acoustic, which I was lucky enough to experience three times back in December, followed by a second full-sized electric set. Both sets had great energy and I was ecstatic when I left.
Every year for the past several years, 89.3 The Current has thrown itself a birthday party at First Ave., inviting many local artists to perform and usually offering several surprise guests during the two-night stand. This year was particularly great for me, personally, as some of my favorite artists were performing.
Night one consisted of Actual Wolf, Strange Names, Lizzo, and Har Mar Superstar. I've seen all but Har Mar perform before, but I knew what I was in for when he took the stage. All four groups did great and it was nice to get a double-dose of Lizzo when she joined Har Mar for most of his set. Both Har Mar and Lizzo are high-energy performers, which makes for a great show every time.
Lizzo, backed by GRRRL PRTY and Chalice member Sophia Eris, along with Doomtree producer Lazerbeak, also brought up on stage Manchita from GRRRL PRTY to round out a few GRRRL PRTY songs, of which I'm a big fan.
Night two was special for me. Primarily becuase Heiruspecs — a group I've worked closely with for years — was performing. It was also great getting to see Caroline Smith perform again, someone I've seen many many times and never seem to tire of. I joked a while back with Sean and DeVon of Heiruspecs that they always ended up having shows on the same day as Caroline, forcing me to choose one or the other, so it was great being able to see both on the same night. Good times had by all.
Arguably the biggest rap group in the Twin Cities right now, Doomtree held its ninth annual blowout at First Ave. As usual, they didn't pull any punches. A healthy peppering of each members' songs and a slew of guest appearances from various artists made the whole weekend an exhausting and exhilarating experience.