Mixed reviews: Rappers score; covers bomb

Floetic Etiquette at Mellow Mushroom
Majahkamo at Starr Hill
Friday, May 30, 2003

Friday night I scoop up my partner, A.D., to check out some music, and off we go to Mellow Mushroom for a little live hip hop in the form of Floetic Etiquette.

The two emcees who front the group, Mitch Wise and Q Black, share a special knack for wordplay. I was optimistic for the future of the conscious underground when I heard a few cuts off their demo performed at the Poetry Lounge.

But the show at Mellow Mushroom was a bit of a different scene. They played a few tracks from their forthcoming CD before bringing out a live band to back them. At this point A.D. turns to me and says, "How old are these people?"

"Late high school age," I say ambiguously.

"Their voices change up a lot," he says. "They sound like they're having fun. You should try and sound more like them when you rap."

That was his way of saying that they're good. I wasn't as fond of the backing band, and the sound system was sub-par, but despite the lack of quality sound, they rocked hard.

They also played a short set, but that didn't matter too much. It gave A.D. and me time to make it to the Majahkamo CD release party at Starr Hill.

I was quickly impressed with this band's energy and composition of original songs. The sound was thick and clean– bass, drums, sax, guitars, all working quite nicely together.

Although I'm usually not a fan of the straight-up rock stuff, I found myself nodding to the music. But then it happened: Attack of the Cover Tunes.

You can tell a lot about a band by the covers they play. It pretty much reflects exactly what type of people they're playing for.

At this point A.D. turns to me and says, "This is the whitest music I've ever heard." That was funny, coming from the one white guy in our two-man crew. I have to say their choice of commercial favorites was very frat-party-gone-maddish.

The Dave Matthews cover especially turned me off. Sorry guys, wrong town for that. I do have to say that they did good renditions of what they played, but I expected more from a group whose individual talents put them above the bar of most bands I've heard. I haven't listened to Majahkamo's album, but I hear there are no covers on it.

I'll probably pick it up before seeing them again live.