The Hype: BLOK were on a winning streak long before the OC Music Awards–the fact that they were dubbed “Best Hip-Hop” act Saturday only confirmed their superiority. Captivating swarms of sweaty club kids and open-minded hip-hop fans across LA and OC, the group were on a high-powered roll as they kicked off the second night of their Monday March residency at Detroit Bar in Costa Mesa.
The Show: Although they had clearly run out of energy by the end of their set, the rabid BLOK fans at Detroit Bar weren't going to let the the sibling trio of spastic rappers leave until they got an encore last night. After a solid 45 minutes of primal boom bappery and ferocious rhymes, the Irvine-based hip-hop hype artists still had enough gusto to charge through a couple more songs. If this group has an “OFF” button, they sure as hell didn't show it.
Powered by the playful intensity of rapper Damien B and his leotard-clad siblings Gianna Gianna and Jesse St. John, BLOK challenged the stamina of the packed Costa Mesa crowd with bouncy, metallic tracks like “Slack,” “Till the Worms Eat Me,” and “Pay Attention,” fitting since no one in the front row could take their eyes off the stage. From beginning to end, the group demonstrated the in-your-face-attitude and wonderfully random aesthetic that local fans seem to crave.
Anyone in close proximity of the stage was liable to get sucked into BLOK's magnetic whirlwind of flailing arms, elbows and ass cheeks. As they closed out their set, the crowd chanted “BLOK, BLOK, BLOK” in arena-rock fashion. It was easy to forget that this was only the second week of their residency. We're anticipating a full-on mob scene by the end of the month.
Although it was obviously BLOK's night to shine, attendees were treated to a winning pairing of supporting acts that sounded nothing alike. Wailing away on a crunchy blues guitar sound, Long Beach's one and only zombie blues man Brother Cecil (aka DJ Old Boy, covered in blood and face paint) awakened the crowd to the jittery sounds of the blues and early rock & roll. Backed only by a drummer, Cecil unleashed haunting blues vocals rife with emotion and Jack White-style vibrato.
Anyone who's seen Cecil perform knows he might include you in his performance whether you like it or not–and Monday was no exception. He often jumped into the crowd for a guitar solo as people cautiously backed away from his white collared shirt smeared with fake blood. But as mildly disturbing as his get-up was, it didn't completely overshadow his talent and authenticity on songs such as “Bad Woman Blues” or even his rendition of “Hound Dog,” featuring vocalist Keila Morris of Canvas—a Santa-Ana based acoustic pop quartet who opened last night's show.
The Crowd: A sopping, sweaty mesh of college coed and Day-Glo club kids draped in loud colors and dumpster chic rubbing up against each other on the dance floor with sprinkles of plaid-wearing indie kids bobbing their heads to the beats.
Overheard: During a second encore request, BLOK gladly granted one more song to the fans, though one guy enthusiastically shouted, “Play 20 more songs muthafucka.” Obiviously the group just gained a fan–an irritating, shouting, obnoxious fan, but a fan nonetheless.