Thursday, February 6, 2014

Shredded Beats @ Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom [Review] (1/30/14 -2/1/14)

Review By: Justin D'Amico

Last weekend So Gnar threw an amazing three night hip-hop bash called Shredded Beats at Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom. Each night had it's own feel as many different artists showcased their talents throughout the weekend. So Gnar brought in a bevy of old school hip-hop bands for the event including Swollen Members, Deltron 3030, and Dilated Peoples. The local talent and other opening acts were great too, bands like: Proximity, High Five, Heatbox, and Slaine. Every night was stacked with a killer line up, and the third night was sold out with walk up ticket sales.

Night one was heavily Battleaxe Warrior themed, that being the movement of fans and groups created as a result of Swollen Members and their positive message. The Battleaxe Warrior crew might sound tough and ready for war, but the people are some of the nicest you can meet.  Swollen Members brought Slaine, one of the artists on their label, he would set a tone with sick flows early on night one. Step Brothers were also in the house for the first night of Shredded Beats. Step Brothers are a group consisting of Evidence and The Alchemist from the Rhymesayers crew. Step Brothers just put out their debut album called Lord Steppington on January 21st, 2014. The opening acts were excellent on night one of Shredded Beats.

Swollen Members electrified the room, as they stepped on stage the crowd went nuts. They went through an awesome set list including a lot of the classics like: "On Top", "Watch This", and "Lady Venom". Madchild also dropped some stuff from his solo album Dope Sick. At one point in the set Madchild stopped to mention how he is recovering from an addiction to pain killers. He said it has been a couple years now and he is proud to say he is sober other than a drink here and there. Prevail was all over the place on stage, he was very entertaining to watch as he would make silly faces and act out lyrics as they were being rapped. Rob the Viking was incredible on the turntables for both Slaine and Swollen Members he also helped out with the backing vocals. Swollen Members went hard and showed the Battleaxe Warriors a great time.

Night two of Shredded Beats was another amazing night of hip-hop. To start off the night local talent would fire up the people. First up was High Five, a Denver based hip-hop collective of 4 MCs and two producers. They were great musically and in hyping the crowd for the headliners to come. The most unique performance of the weekend came on night two with an artist called Heatbox. For his live show Heatbox used a few different effects processors and samplers along with his talent for beat-boxing to create music. Heatbox is a solo act, but when listening it sounds like a full band is playing the music. Again the openers were incredible and the vibes were comforting.

For the beginning of the Deltron 3030 set Kid Koala faded into the song "3030" the perfect opening.
Then Dan the Automator entered the stage to a large applause, but no one got as big of an ovation as Del as he entered the stage from the back. He shook a couple hands and then right into it, "Hey yo, it's three-thousand-thirty I want ya'll to meet Deltron zero." The set went way back into the old school Deltron 3030 days with songs like, "Mastermind", Things You Can Do", and "Positive Contact". Some new Deltron 3030 music was weaved into the set too, like "The Return". For this show Deltron 3030 had a full band including guitar, bass guitar and drums. Dan the Automator is the band leader and he also ran a sample box as he walked around on stage. The Roland sound machine Dan the Automator used was loaded up with a bunch of the samples from Deltron 3030 songs, he would insert them at the precise time to recreate the song live. For some shows Deltron 3030 has a full orchestra and then Dan serves as the conductor while the orchestra creates the sounds live. Kid Koala was given a little solo time where he went off showing his ridiculous skills. Kid Koala had a three turntable setup for this show, and he would mix between all three. Night two of Shredded Beats was a lot of fun and Deltron 3030 was instupituous.

For night three of Shredded Beats the place was really bumpin, and it sold out! The big names for the third night were Dizzy Wright, Hopsin, and Dilated Peoples. Originally Dilated Peoples were to headline, but due to travel conflicts they would go on before Hopsin. Dizzy Wright was a big name opener for the show. Dizzy brought his friend and fellow lyricist Rolphy for some added flavor. Dizzy Wright was tight with hard flows and some sick beats. Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom got hot and sticky with a capacity crowd fired up for hip-hop.

Dilated Peoples took the stage and I couldn't stop smiling. They have so much fun up there and they keep it energetic for the whole set. The group consists of Evidence, Rakaa Iriscience, and DJ Babu. For this show The Alchemist was also in the mix, another Rhymesayers Entertainment badass. 'We make it hard when we go on first' is such a true statement, straight from the lyrics of Dilated Peoples on the track "Worst Comes To Worst". Hopsin would close out the show with a harder style. It took only two songs for Hopsin to take off his shirt and showoff his physique. Hopsin had a tough spot following Dilated Peoples, but he was able to pull it off well. I had a great time at all three nights of Shredded Beats.

Intelligent hip hop always trumps hard gangster rap to me. I would rather giggle at a witty simile, rather than listen to a supposed tough guy talk about cliche topics. Shredded Beats brought together an excellent group of hip-hop artists for an inspiring event. The lyricists were all on point and the tough guy stuff was kept to a minimum. Shredded Beats was presented by So Gnar a Colorado company that sells awesome merchandise, throws concerts, and puts on snowboarding events. Make sure to check out the So Gnar website by following the link. Also stay on the up and up with the best club in Denver too, Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom.


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