I was impressed by a little venue on 107th ave and 109th street called Crown Pub and Pizza Saturday night as I attended the Extra Miles tour’s Edmontonian stop. Crown is a little joint situated upstairs in a little strip mall north of Grant MacEwan. They serve pizza, steak, fries, booze and have a nice little live set-up as well. Apparently, Crown Pub hosts live underground Hip-Hop every Tuesday. Would I recommend checking that out? Yes I would.
As for this show, there’s not a lot to say without further looking into the artists and their material. Both Relic and Fresh Kills feature fast and sophisticated rhymes and techniques that would put the plethora of club based hits that mainstream hip-hop has been churning out like processed cheese to shame. What most impressed me about this show, other than the intricate emcee-ship, was the talent expressed by the accompanying artists a.k.a the DJs. This was not a couple of casual DJs you’d find putting together a playlist at a dance. These guys were cutting beats live from samples they produced themselves. One duo included a DJ and another guy manning a drum pad. The intricate beats and samples were performed rather than pre-programmed and the DJ added rhythm and intensity to that performance with nimble scratch-work the likes of which I have not seen in years.
Interestingly enough, one of the best performances of the evening came from the sound guy, long before the actual concert started. Essentially, he was playing with the equipment in order to test the sound system. I think he got lost in his own groove and what came out as a result was some of the best scratching I’ve ever seen. Whether it was the pure skill or just the absorbed passion for the craft that hit me, I’ll never know. That plus the inclusion of the documentary Planet B-Boy made this one of the most interesting pre-shows.
It turned out to be a good night, and I think I’ll be back. Maybe for Tuesday night Hip-Hop. Pizza is $5…So why not?
-Eric T. Behr