"Fix Ya Face" Tour
August 21, 2010
Blue Cafe, Long Beach
It was the MCs vs. the PCs (personal computers, party crashers, poor choices) on the last night of "Fix Ya Face" OC hip-hop tour at Blue Café in Long Beach last night. The PCs won.
The six-week tour, featuring Epademik, Aliso Black and Siccness, had followed a successful formula on its previous five dates: take over a modest-sized local bar on a Saturday night and get area acts to open (Devotion in Huntington Beach; Independent Thinkers in San Juan Capistrano). But at the Blue Café, the formula backfired.
A strong, strong opening set from Compton hip-hop O.G. Don "Cuicide" Cizzle gave the classic West Coast gangster sound an earnest updating - confident but still hungry, blunted but still full of bounce - that set the right tone for nigt: this was real hip-hop, conscious of its history, moving forward, a world apart from the club dreck, however popular, packing the upstairs bar this very minute.
Then Teddy Bear happened. Invited by "Fix Ya Face" host Mr. Buck (a Compton internet radio personality) to perform last minute, Teddy Bear, the man responsible for DJ Quik's "Tonite" beat, showed up leading a group of his extended family of nephews of various skill levels through upbeat R&B. Woulda been perfect upstairs. Downstairs, however, it killed the vibe. The entourage overwhelmed Blue Café's corner wedge of a stage, singing and rapping club-centric songs with hooks as muscle-y as the bug Tedster himself. After a set at least two songs too long, the stage cleared - and so did most of the audience.
Epademik at first saved face respectably with his set, drawing from his upcoming Hoopla/Universal debut "Addicted" and mixing local humor (one song referenced cruising Bristol) with nods to the bratty contrarianism of Eminem. It was getting late, and Epademik was getting desperate, alternately joking about rocking the house to "all five of us left" with the promise of his record dropping nationally in a few months. Then in a true Spinal Tap Hip-Hop 2010 moment, the DJ's PC crashed - evidently from the bug-gy flash drive from Teddy Bear's set. Fortunately, Epademik hypeman AK had a battery of acapela rhymes so fast they sounded like helicopter blades, giving the night an unintended but sorely needed highlight in the name of real hip-hop - and a spotlight on the underappreciated hypeman. By the time the PC was back up and running, it was too late. Epademik had given up on his last song; Black and Siccness were looking at an empty room, and headliner MC Chill from Compton's Most Wanted looked like he most wanted to get the hell out of there. "Fix Ya Face"'s last act, turns out, was "Fix Ya Computer."
Critic's Bias: Aliso Black said I could be his hypeman on his new track "Crazy" if I learned the first verse, which I didn't, but still would have tried--if he had gotten to perform.
The Crowd: Respectable but modest, split as it was between curious pairs of female attendees in their form-fitting clubwear-best wandering downstairs from the more popular Mariposa above and the sadly outnumbered baggy hip-hop faithful--which is why the place was near-empty after Teddy Bear's set. Age-wise, older heads familiar with Chill from CMW (scheduled to play last) got to get their O.G. on with Don "Cuicide" Cizzle's set andtwo women video recorded his whole set on their phones. For Teddy Bear and his extended family's set, more younger woman who seemed to know every mumbled chorus and bumped along with the ad hoc choreography. For Epademik, as he put it, "the five of us left."
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Overheard in the Crowd:
"This is why DJs should use Macs."
"It is what it is."
"This is why you don't let an act on your bill last minute."
Random notebook dump: Epademik and Siccness had phenomenal merch booths--selling everything from lighters to t-shirts and CDs flanked by life-size screens of them at their mug-tastic MC best. Turns out, Epademik owns his own company, Union Sign Supply Co.
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