Concert Reviews

Last Night ... The Pirate Signal, Digitata, Sims, and Mel Gibson and The Pants

The Pirate Signal November 29, 2007 The Hi-Dive

Better Than: watching reruns during the writer’s strike

One thing that’s guaranteed at a Pirate Signal show is passion. No matter how many people are in the crowd, no matter how they’re responding to the music, DJ A-What and Yonnas deliver a high-energy show that’ll leave you wondering how come more people don’t know about these cats?

That was the case last night at hi-dive where The Pirate Signal headlined a show that featured Digitata, Sims, and Mel Gibson and The Pants (pictured above), groups who drove in from Minnesota. The crowd was sparse for most of the evening, but people started trickling in as The Pirate Signal’s set time drew near. Yonnas and A-What took the stage shortly after 10 p.m. and launched into a new song called “Violence,” a story about a troubled youth who experienced sexual abuse at a young age, then got involved in drugs, and then went on to rape a woman himself before getting killed by police. It’s a nice way to open the show, right? But as Yonnas affirmed, “That’s the kind of sh*t I write about, it’s f**ked up right?” And that’s why the duo is garnering a small, but dedicated following.

The group then shared a couple of tracks from their upcoming mixtape -- a reworking of J Dilla and Guilty Simpson’s James Brown-inspired “Man’s World,” which Yonnas dedicated to his father (who was also in the house) and its own take on M.I.A.’s “Paper Planes.” They did a couple more new songs, the day job employee’s anthem “Prostitute” and the story-driven “Zeiko,” which should cause even more anticipation for its next. The duo then dipped into more familiar tracks from last year’s self-titled EP like “Go!,” “Get Dirty,” and “I Can’t Wait,” which are quickly becoming Colorado hip-hop classics.

Ending the night, The Pirate Signal introduced more new songs with the Black militant styling of “Black Godz” and a verse from “Everyone in Babylon is a Racist,” where Yonnas tried, unsuccessfully, to perform the song three times but forgot the lyrics mid-way through. But hey, it was a new song, performed for the first time, and the piano-driven beat had heads bobbing all three times. Be on the lookout for The Pirate Signal when they open for the RZA next week in Boulder and in Denver.

-- Quibian Salazar-Moreno

Critic’s Notebook:

Personal Bias: The Pirate Signal’s EP is one of the few local hip-hop projects that get a weekly listen on my iPod.

Random Detail: Local rappers Mane Rok and Deca were amongst the 50 or so people who came to the show.

By the Way: If you like Portishead, Sneaker Pimps or Morcheeba, you should check out opening act Digitata.

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Sean Cronin