Friday, January 29, 2010

28 Jan 10

"...GP, glad you took my heartfelt song and turned it into a double bass..." ~ Blackbox

Hey, blogspot readers, SouthSide's hitting the red carpet for an extra special night on the town. Tonight, she's attending her first (pre) Grammy party which was held at LaSalle Power Co. It was a rockin' celebration for Chicago's very own - Malik Yusef, a spoken poet and nominated artist (with Kayne for Best Rap Song by Group/Duo - Amazing) off Kayne West's G.O.O.D. Music record label. Fans packed the third floor of this venue to hear performances from guests such as Blackbox and Zach Crawford. This reviewer honestly felt sorry for the opening act. Though the three-song set was okay, the duo couldn't generate enough energy to get the anyone excited for their music. They certainly faced a tough crowd since there was a noticeable lack of response after each song.

The party truly came to life when this (Emmy) award winning local duo took the stage. The audience caught the Blackbox fever of rockin' electric guitar rhythms and fantastical drumming. Recently returning from the west coast, Damon (vocals/guitars) and Greg (World's Greatest Drummer) amazed with songs like Condition of Man and The One. This reviewer enjoyed the hard hitting guitar riffs during Damn You and Alive. In Damn You (a song written while in L.A. after getting into trouble), there was a definite sound of rage at everything and everyone that would piss you off. Yet in Alive, you could hear the frustration and angst off the lyrics as Damon pours out his heart. Meanwhile, GP entertained the crowd with his wild drumming skills. It's fascinating to watch him hit the cymbals positioned out of his line of sight. You have to see this duo live to soak in the rock star experience which Blackbox provides at each show. Closing with SouthSide's favorite song, Sick, energetic drumming fueled Damon's wild ride throughout the crowd - rockin' on top of the bar counter and table tops. For more information, visit or

After that rousing rock performance, fans were now ready to enjoy the soulful music by Malik Yusef. Accompanied with a full band, this Grammy-nominated artist's performance literally blew SouthSide away. She enjoyed the modern twist to the R&B/Soul sound which paid homage to other artists such as Curtis Mayfield and The Roots. Yet with Malik's music, there was also soulful versions of rock songs borrowed from The Beatles and Red Hot Chili Peppers. What made his songs unique was the inspirational yet motivational freestyle poetry he adds to the original lyrics. This artist tailored each song performed during the set to his own style thus giving them a new lease on life and an audience to hear them. For example, listen to his ode to Chicago titled My City. Though having the basic sound of RHCP's Under the Bridge, this reviewer liked how Malik flipped the rock into a soulful R&B sound with some REM's Losing My Religion in the middle. Another fine example would be his tribute to Curtis Mayfield in Get Ready Ready. Still borrowing from a classic R&B artist, Malik made this song his own with the freestyle poetry in between. He did take a moment to get down and funky with a vibrant instrumental piece. Any lyrics added to this song would have spoiled the energetic groove felt. And if you watch very carefully, you might notice him using American Sign Language to "sing" the lyrics during the intros of certain songs. With Zach Crawford joining him on stage, Malik performed a rockin' but R&B version of The Beatle's Come Together. SouthSide also suggests listening to his other songs such as Wouldn't You Like to Ride and Universe to hear how diverse this artist can be with his music. SouthSide highly recommends checking out this spoken poet/songwriter during 2010. For more information, visit

Until next time, support your local scene,

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