Concert Reviews

The Foodchain at Bluebird Theater, 12/20/12

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"You can never find two or three people to get along with," declared one of the Foodchain's MCs, speaking to the uncommon bond that this band shares, which explains their exceptional chemistry. The engine of the group is their powerful yet precise drummer, who sets the foundation for the three (count 'em, three) synth players who take different roles in creating each song's unique ambience.

And these are no cookie cutter, business as usual jams, either. Each song has a unique progression and a sound which is distinct, but that still fits into the group's cohesive style. The MCs pass verses (figuratively) and blunts (literally) to create an authentic cipher feel. This is a group that manages to take brave steps into relatively uncharted territory while keeping clear roots in traditional, old-school hip-hop, sure to satisfy any sort of rap fan.

9th Wonder's set was essentially divided into two parts. He began his set with a slew of his own produced material, from early fare like the The Minstrel Show's "Slow It Down" from 2005 to the more recent "Band Practice, Pt. 2" from 2011's The Wonder Years, all infused with the signature soul that characterizes 9th Wonder's sound.

For the majority of his time, though, 9th Wonder opted to spin timeless favorites from producers of all kinds. The stoic musician (who must've uttered fewer than thirty words his entire show) said briefly, "This is for all the thirty-plus-year-olds in the building," then launched into what may as well have been called the "9th Wonder's Greatest Hits of the '90s" part of the show.

For the most part, 9th's selections were organized by region, and sometimes by artist; for instance, at one point, 9th Wonder ran through Wu-Tang's "Ice Cream," "Triumph," "Liquid Swords" and "C.R.E.A.M," in order, bookended by Nas and Biggie. He dipped into a little bit of everything, but focused heavily on the two coasts.

Technically, 9th didn't do anything very remarkable, but he demonstrated his thorough knowledge of hip-hop, delivered the right songs to please the crowd and otherwise took in the respect that he's earned over the course of his illustrious career. It wasn't the show the audience probably expected, but it was still fun, and most everyone certainly appreciated 9th Wonder's taste in music.

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Noah Hubbell