Tuesday, August 19, 2008

...yes yes y'all

Summer in the city is always a weird time. The city (in this case Jacksonville) slows down to a snail's pace. Those who can, make a kind of mass exodus for cooler parts, or hotter beaches. Of course there are sidetrips and day trips taken by those of us not summering in Maine. The result is a scene with a kind of catch-me-if you-can fluidity, lubricated with beer and fish tacos.

Well, at least that has been my experience.

This year, 9th and Main played host to the annual Summertime in the City jam. An all-day event, there were b-boy battles, free hot dogs and soda the kids, and at some point a free keg (though I arrived long after it was gone).

I arrived at the venue at about 11:00 p.m., well into the show. As I slipped into the theatre, Peyton Locke, formerly Therapy (please call him Peyton from now on), of the AB's and Perceptionists, and currently of the Smile Rays, was doing his thing.

Locke is one of the most multi-talented individuals in Jacksonville's hip hop scene. I've interviewed him before, and then he told me one thing: "I dream of crates and crates of my own records."

These days though, he's got his own DJ. And although Locke brings the same passion and sense of fun to the stage, it seemed as if, as with his name change (back), he's trying to work things out, to figure out his next step.

In fact, several of Jacksonville's regulars seemed to be trying to do the same thing: trying to figure out how to interlace the capabilities of production that seem to be as close as the next Mac, with the balance of a well-crafted show.

Willie Evans Jr., who is another favorite put together a quick performance, "I want people to stay long enough to see me," he said of the notoriously behind-scheduleness of the scene, "before they look around and realize there are no girls here." But his performance too had a sort of thinking-out-loud quality to it.

Neither performer was a strong as I have seen them be, but I am pleased to say that neither of them sampled twice from the (correct me if I am wrong) same record as did Dillon from Atlanta. With many props thrown out to Isaac Hayes, Dillon, rapped quickly and funnily over Hayes samples that are so good as to almost insure the success of the performer working "with" Mr. Hayes.

As I left, Dope Sandwich had taken the stage, and if I'd had a little more stamina, I would've have stayed to see them perform. From the glance I got, their rhymes were tight, and their beats dope.

And really, one can't ask for anything more than that, to step out the door into sweltering humidity, with a neck-bobbin' beat for you to exit the scene on. Whether or not everyone brings an "A" game then becomes a moot point...it is the summertime after all.

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