With KDHX about to move to Grand Center I thought it would be fun to tell you one of my favorite stories from when I was sound engineer for a show called "Sounds About Town." It was on Thursday nights and the mission was to give away tickets and play music from upcoming gigs.
The golden age of hip-hop came to 2720 en masse for a night of nostalgic joy and veteran performances. Even on a Sunday night, the crowd was out in good numbers and started to fill the dance floor as soon as the music began.
Rain splattered St. Louis Sunday morning. The sight recalled last year, when LouFest was temporarily halted prior to Son Volt's set as a colossal storm pounded Central Field into a muddy pulp.
Bumbershoot, a portmanteau for an umbrella, started as a jazz festival with the hook that the mayor would watch over your children.
We slipped into a lucky parking spot in the lot behind the Moonrise Hotel as the sun gave its final warming rays for the first-class citizens of the west side of the loop. "Two hours late for the show," I said to Johnson as we headed towards the Pageant. "This will make for an interesting review." Neither of us could have guessed how the night was about to play out.
The crowd seemed sparse as the showtime approached, but appearances can be deceiving. Locals Mathias & the Pirates took the stage to open the night, and by the close of their first song, the wallflowers had emerged from the booths and shadows and the influx of returning smokers filled the gaps to stuff the floor with a crowd even headliners could appreciate. By the time Dessa took the stage, there wasn't a straggler in the room and all eyes were fixed on the Firebird stage.
Emcee/poet Dessa abandons hip-hop production for an acoustic retelling of her haunted prose. Matte with the kind of truth easily glossed over by a shiny veneer, her compositions drip heartbreak induced wisdom.
In front of heavy beats and a spartan stage graced only with a few lone microphone stands and a table reserved for the ubiquitous laptop, five rappers filled the remaining empty space with their quick-fire poetry. In the words of one of the headliners, Killer Mike, this was church. So we paid attention and exalted.
Can you believe we're at the midyear mark of another year? Well, we are, and that means it's time to take stock of the albums and EPs that have received the most spins on KDHX in the first six months of 2013.