Detroit hip-hop was definitely in the fucking building for Catch Lungs's CD release party. In addition to the fellow locals in Food Chain and Fresh Breath Committee, One Be Lo, Guilty Simpson and Elzhi flew in from Motor City to help the young rapper celebrate the release of his new album, Awake in a Dream, and brought down the house.
The Marquis Theater was filled with folks familiar with the grit and laid back grimey sound of the Detroit natives. Fresh Breath Committee kicked the night off with a lively set that I caught at the end. In typical fashion and with Skip Ripkin behind the decks, the multi-manned crew wrecked havoc on the stage with notable cohesion.
In between sets, DJ Bedz was behind the decks keeping the party moving with some fresh hip-hop fresh that definitely kept the heads in the building nodding.
Blazing through a set that they've perfected at this point, Food Chain easily dominated the energy in the room, with a considerable amount of the audience there to support the crew. While they covered a medley of hits from other artists, including "Welcome to Jamrock" by Damien Marley, the original material from the band was just as compelling and recognized by the crowd.
One Be Lo was brilliant as ever, as he played mentor to Catch throughout the night before his performance got underway. A familiar face to most of the crowd in Denver, he had no problems rocking through his catalogue with considerable help from the people. Vocally, One Be Lo is one of the clearest MCs to do it, and his lyrics were given center stage.
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When Catch Lungs took the stage, it was well into the evening. The crowd for the most part had been filing in and out of the venue with a drinking and smoking gusto on par with a typical Friday night. The most interesting thing about Catch's performance was that opened alone on stage, with only Bedz backing him. A stark contrast from the energetic, and sometimes frenetic pace kept by his group, the Fresh Breath Committee.
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Catch certainly held his own, sometimes being a bit overzealous in his ad-libs and rap style microphone handling, but for the most part, he commanded the crowd. There was a rhythm to his steps as he performed tracks from his Sleeping Pills mixtape and latest, Awake in a Dream.
Throughout his set, Catch never stumbled on his lyrics and maintained a creative stamina. He brought out One Be Lo for a guest verse, giving a glimpse at what a stage show with perhaps a few more folks for back-up would look like. One Be Lo is such a pro, the Binary Star MC brought a cool and easy vibe to Catch's set that gave him an upsurge of energy. Admittedly, things were getting a big lethargic at that point, but by the time Guilty Simpson came out, people were indeed ready to party once again and he did not disappoint.With a voice as deep as his Detroit roots, Guilty was certainly a crowd favorite.
CRITIC'S NOTEBOOK Personal Bias: I think Catch Lungs is awesome Random Detail: My friend Gina said she was distracted by several moments of bad b-girl dancing. By the Way: I missed a chunk of Elzhi's performance, shit happens. Hip-hop.