Monday, June 2, 2014

(hed)PE and a new favorite...Sunflower Dead!

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014
(hed)PE, Sunflower Dead
The Warehouse Bar and Grill, Clarksville, TN

I know that a lot of Juggalos are in disagreement about (hed)PE, with some really liking them, and some definitely not liking them at all. Well, I fall into the former category since I've really enjoyed their music and live performances for years. I actually consider them to be one of my top few favorites in the underground as far as putting together albums that I can listen to all the way through. That being said, I was disappointed when I went to their most recent local show in Clarksville, TN on 3/19. I had to work that day, so after leaving work at 7:00pm, I grabbed my friend Marlie and we arrived at the venue shortly after 8:00pm, after a few of the openers had already performed. Our friend Izzy was already there, so we grabbed some drinks and mingled until the next band was ready.

We were all camped out at the bar, and pretty soon, we started to hear this loud, slow accordion music fill the whole club. There was a guy who had come onstage who had an entirely white head with gray veins and blacked out eyes, slowly but very loudly playing his accordion while staring into the crowd. It was so loud and out of the ordinary that it seemed like everyone stopped and watched him until he was done. After putting down the accordion, the rest of the band members came out onstage and I decided to walk up a little closer and get a better look at them. Each one had their own face paint design, and each one looked awesome. Wow...they were definitely unique, and from just the few minutes I'd been watching, I was really digging it.

Who was this band?? How had I never heard of them before?? And why was I falling in love with them so instantly when I was there just to see (hed)PE??


It's pretty rare for me to see a band or artist live and immediately be a fan, but that's just what happened here. They were so unique, and very, very entertaining. Each person in the band had that certain something that made me watch him during the performance.






The lead singer and accordion player Michael has this incredibly intense and almost scary air about him, where his blacked out eyes stare right through you when he looks at you!



Lead guitarist Jaboo is so fascinating to watch, partly because of his makeup, and partly because he was TEARING IT UP on the guitar. He definitely had an old school hair metal vibe going on, with his long curls hiding his face and the manner in which he was playing.



Bassist Jamie has long dreadlocks that he swings around during the more intense parts of the performance, which I love <3 P1070042




They were just very entertaining, and very fun to watch.

Their music was also exactly what I like as well, with lots of heavy metal and hard rock influence, but with actual lyrics that you can understand (I've never been much into the heavy metal that is just constant screaming). Since I wasn't familiar with any of their music, everything they performed was new to me except for their version of "Every Breath You Take" by the Police. During the set, the lead singer motioned for a few of us to come closer to the stage, then proceeded to bend down and stare at me for what seemed like forever haha It was genuinely intimidating, I must say, but I loved it.

I'm not sure if Sunflower Dead is a band that the average Juggalo would like or not, but I certainly think they deserve a chance. I mean, not everyone likes (hed)PE, but they still have a pretty strong Juggalo following. All I can speak for is myself, in that I LOVED what I saw of them, and will certainly be following them in hopes of our paths crossing again.

After their set, Smile Empty Soul was up next. I've seen them a couple of times before and think that they're awful at performing live, so Izzy, Marlie and I headed outside for a breather. On the way out, we ran into Jaboo and Jamie, and we all gave them our kudos for a performance well done. Afterward, since we had some time to kill before (hed)PE, we ran to the corner gas station for some drinks. I ended up with a Colt 45 because I told my friends I'd never tried one before, and they insisted. Bad idea, especially when I'm not much of a beer drinker hahaha But oh well.


By the time we made it back, we were just in time to get hit on by some guys in the parking lot. After making our escape, we went back inside, and were just in time to catch (hed)PE come on stage. From the get go, I could tell that something was really off. None of them seemed to have their normal energy, and they seemed to just be going through the motions of performing. The crowd had thinned a little after Smile Empty Soul, so apparently the crowd wasn't doing much to hype up the band either. Jahred stayed a lot further back on the stage than normal, and didn't seem very animated.

Maybe halfway through the set, the real issue surfaced when Jahred made a comment about how they shouldn't have come back to Clarksville so soon (since they were just at this same venue in December). He looked kinda pissed when he said it...but I mean, that's not our fault. That's your booking manager's fault for booking you at the same small town venue twice in three months. Why cop out and give us a below average performance just because you're pissed off that you're back so soon? Later he even made a comment about how "shows like this...35 people in a club...don't make a tour." Pretty sad that something like that would affect their performance.





But y'know, every group is allowed to have their off nights, so lets hope that this is a one-off and not a consistent thing with their post-Subnoize performances. One thing they did do which I thought was kind of cool was that they took a couple of requests. Someone yelled "RTO!" and Jahred said "I'm not your personal karaoke machine...or am I?" then they played RTO anyway. The same thing happened with Sophia, and later they played CBC after calling out some dude who was humping on his girl in the crowd haha

After the set was done, the band went back to their merch booth and signed some autographs, but pretty quickly made their way out of the venue. It was very obvious that they didn't want to be there, which is a real disservice to their fans, IMO.

Izzy gets her drumstick signed

Marlie and Jahred

So yeah...I came to this show excited to see (hed)PE, but Sunflower Dead totally stole the show! For anyone who might want to check out something by them, here are a couple of links for their videos:
The Point of Decision:
Make Me Drown (with the accordion intro):
Every Breath You Take:


Thursday, April 3, 2014

Twisted Insane and Whitney Peyton winter warm up in Clarksville

So...yes...I know that I've been remiss in not updating my blog as often as I should. After every show last year, I thought "Man, I've gotta update the blog" but it just never happened. But don't fear. I promise that I'll keep better track of it this year. We'll start with the first show from this year, and go from there!

Saturday, March 1st
Da Mafia 6ix, Sozay, Twisted Insane, Whitney Peyton
The Warehouse Bar and Grill, Clarksville, TN

I'm sure I'm not alone in thinking that it's been a long, cold winter. Most artists don't tour through the winter, so when I noticed that Da Mafia 6ix had a show coming up in nearby Clarksville, TN, I figured that it would be a fun night. But then, I saw that Twisted Insane and Whitey Peyton were opening for them...and oh yes, I knew I had to be there! I was SO ready to get out to a good live show and have some fun with my friends, and this was the perfect opportunity amid all the wintry weather!

My friends Izzy and Rusty accompanied me to this show, but once we arrived, there ended up being about a dozen of us who all showed up without coordinating with each other! Through the first three or four openers, we all spent time alternating between the bar, the stage and goofing around out in the middle of the club. At some point, a few of us took note of one of the openers, named Since When. He had some really good rhymes, and had us all paying attention more than we had to any other opener. After his set, a few of us went to greet him, and tell him that he were really digging his set. He was really nice, and seemed glad that we'd taken notice. It would be great to catch another one of his sets at some point in the future.

Shawn and Rusty enjoying some drinks in the venue

Izzy and yours truly (sporting my freshly made dreads!)

Shawn, Tiny and Rusty throw down some freestyles before the show

Check it drink matches my hair!

The next opener I paid attention to was Fisty Cuffs, who seems to be someone that I've heard more and more about recently among my friends. He did a pretty good job, and the crowd seemed to be feeling him pretty well, though most people were still hanging around the bar and pool table areas during his set.

The person on this tour that I was probably most excited to see was Whitney Peyton. I saw her at the Gathering last year and thought she did a good job with such a huge crowd, so I was excited to see her perform in a small venue. Some of my friends had never heard of her before, so when it was time for her set, I tried to herd people up to the stage to check her out.





As soon as she came on stage, you could tell that she had no problem commanding the entire audience's attention and reveling in it. I thought she did a great job...better than the Gathering in my opinion! She was totally on point, and brought tons of intensity with her performance. Not far into the set, she jumped up on the barricade and held onto an overhead pipe while she performed, then later she ended up on top of a table in the VIP-type area. Then to top off an already awesome set, she ended up standing upright on top of the crowd (underneath an appropriately yet ironically placed disco ball), and TORE IT UP for her last song.

I've gotta say...I'm really digging Whitney Peyton. I think she's really good at what she does, which at the end of the day, is all I really ask for out of a performer. I love that she's intense and bad ass, and doesn't resort to using sex to sell her music. After her set, Marlie, Rusty and I found her at her merch booth, so we all picked up posters and got photos with her.

Me with Whitney

Marlie with Whitney

Rusty with Whitney

I'm definitely excited to see where her career goes, and I really hope to see her on some more big-name collabs soon.


Next on the roster was Twisted Insane, who is someone else who I knew put on a great live show. I saw him last year in Nashville, and dude is a beast! As he began his set, you could look around the venue and see people who didn't know who he was start to suddenly perk up and pay attention to what he was doing. Not gonna lie...I can't understand a word that he says when he's performing live since he raps SO FAST. It's unbelievable that someone can rap that fast, for that long, on basically every song he performs. Just awesome.





Sometimes in between his verses, he has moments of seeming, rolling his eyes back in his head, twitching and jerking around, and flicking his tongue at the crowd. He's very unique and very entertaining, and is well worth catching live if you get the chance. After his set (and actually for the whole rest of the night) he milled around the venue and greeted people, so we all ended up getting photos with him as well.

Me with Twisted Insane


Next up on the list was Sozay, who I wasn't familiar with but appeared to be a more mainstream sounding rapper. He was good, and the crowd was really pumped up during his performance. He was having a lot of fun, as well as the guys in his crew who stood at the back of the stage the whole time. Near the end of his set, he said something about wanting all the sexy ladies in the audience to get onstage with him and dance. I saw Izzy jump onstage, then the guy in front of me moved out of my way so I could go. At first I said no, but then he said "...but you're sexy!" so I was like hey, might as well! Thank you, random dude, for paying me a compliment! ;-) Marlie ended up onstage with us as well, and we all danced around for the length of the song before heading back into the audience to finish watching his set.

After Sozay's set, it was 1:00am...and despite how I want to believe that I'm an all night party animal...I'm just not anymore hahaha I was really tired, but I certainly wasn't going to call it quits before Da Mafia 6ix came onstage! Just before they walked out, they brought out some skeletons, then flooded the whole stage area with artificial fog. Once they came out, the crowd was super hyped up for the performance.





I tried my best to take photos, and I ended up snapping about 50 of them, but basically none of them came out well due to so much fog in the venue. They were all washed out and blurry. Boooo. I hung out for a while in the big crowd at the front, but I eventually retreated back a little way since my photos weren't turning out and I was too tired to deal with the crowd. As the set went on, people began to peel away from the immediate area of the stage, instead hanging back and dancing, getting drinks and socializing. It was really fun, and pretty chill as far as rap shows go.

After everyone was done, the venue started to clear out, so we all made one last pass by the merch booths as we were on our way out. This was a great show, and it was just what I needed in the middle of a long, cold winter! There where times when our little group of Juggalos looked like we were the only people in the whole venue having any fun! It was great to have some fun times with my fam while catching some really great music too! I hope that we see a lot more of both Whitney Peyton and Twisted Insane because they're both great, and well worth paying attention to. Til next time, fam! Whoop whoop!