Crown City Rockers, one of the freshest young groups in hip-hop today, made the trek down to San Diego on Saturday night to rock a small beach club to its core.
A tight and powerful 80-minute set included a healthy mix of tunes from Crown City's 2004 debut, Earthtones, and from the 2001 album, Mission:One, recorded under the previous band name, Mission. (And look out for a new Crown City album due out this Fall.)
Crown City Rockers is a powerhouse of characters who each bring an extremely unique voice to the collective. The rhythm section is made up of classically-trained Max MacVeety (on drums) and Ethan Parsonage, a.k.a. "Headnodic" (on bass guitar). The funk that flies out of these two is solid and crackles with flash. MacVeety's solos and raucous fills are not only an auditory delight, but performed with just enough of a lack of modesty to just put this promising young skinsman on this side of "Rock Star" status, while Headnodic's no-nonsense bass playing confidently and authoritatively lays down the law from the center of the stage.
Rounding out the instrumental aspect of the group is the amaaaaaaaazing Kat Ouano: perhaps one of the most electrifying keyboard players you'll ever see. With five various types of keyboard instruments at her stage-helm, Ouano's keys and sythns give Crown City a signature sound that no one else I've ever heard even comes close to... and she's even more incredible to watch! Just to see those fingers flying across the keys, as though performing from within a musical transe, is a treat in and of itself.
And certainly not least are the fiery talents of the incredible percussionist/sampler/DJ - Woodstock - who lands sharp, smart beats and blasts backing vocals for the amazingly charismatic frontman, Raashan Ahmad. Ahmad's presence and power propels this otherwise amazing auditory experience into a full-blown explosion of character, drama and exhibition. The crowd at Winston's last night took all of about five minutes to be completely sucked into this energetic emcee's spell, and from that point on, they were powerless against the beats, blasts, riffs and rhymes of this explosive young group.
(To read more about Crown City Rockers, click here.)
It was certainly thrilling to see a group this young and yet this competent and seasoned at this stage in what will hopefully be an incredibly successful career - in a small club in a small beach town - before they go on to the big downtown clubs and eventually arena-status. You'll want to catch them before they get too big and Ticketmaster makes you mortgage your first-born child for admission.
Crown City Rockers, kids. If you don't know yet... remember the name.