Sunday, June 20, 2010

Review: Summer Jam III at Sandstone

It would be disingenuous to suggest that Saturday's Summer Jam III was a walk in the park.

Even though I was on hand as a hip hop fan, attending the 7 hour and 30 minute concert was hard work. Sandstone offers precious little shade and the venue's concrete bowl resembled a blast furnace. And while most devotees of Tech N9ne are toxicology experts, a few dozen members of the audience of about 2,500 became excessively hyphy or ill. Dodging scuffles and vomit became increasingly tiresome as the day progressed.

Instead of composing a conventional review, I ranked the 18 entertainers by the quality of their performances. The musicians' actual order of appearance is in parentheses. (The headliner, Tech N9ne, is #1. Nelly immediately preceded Tech N9ne. He's #2. Etc.) The show was divided into two segments- eight national acts and ten local openers. They're ranked separately.

National acts.
1. Tech N9ne (1)- The "Strange Days" tour provided several refreshing changes. New material like "O.G." was introduced and a few old favorites featured reworked arrangements. Two songs from horrorcore rapper Brotha Lynch Hung and Big Scoob's shirtless rendition of "Salue" were excellent. As Tech N9ne rapped on "Blown Away", a track about an infamous incident at the first Summer Jam, he remains the man to beat.

2. Fat Joe (4)- Terror! I was thrilled to finally see Fat Joe. Hilariously bellicose, he didn't disappoint. Fat Joe also had the good sense to immediately pay tribute to Tech N9ne. KPRS' Tony G. claimed that this was the rap star's first appearance in the Kansas City area. That can't be right, can it?

3. Lil Jon (3)- It takes a genius to be this moronic. Lil Jon's set was Idiocracy in full effect. And yes- I danced as Rome burned.

4. Nelly (2)- I'd never seen so many soccer moms at a hip hop show. At least 500 women were on hand primarily to see Nelly. While I may have forgotten about hits like "Ride Wit Me" and "Shake Ya Tailfeather," they sure hadn't. Fun.

5. K Michelle (5)- Most of her set was a tribute to Mary J. Blige. Still, I'm a "Fallin'" fan.

6. Bertel (7)- Atrocious.

7. Recognition (8)- Insufferable.

8. John Brown (6)- He initially thought he was in St. Louis. Too bad he wasn't this John Brown.

Local acts.
1. B Double E (16)- "K.C. Say Yeah" is a clever survey of the scene.

2. Cash Image (10)- Showmanship and legitimate hits.

3. Jae Casino (17)- Versatility impresses.

4. S.H.A.D.O.W. (15)- Flashed talent while freestyling.

5. Chief Wakil (13)- Just because an artist has good taste doesn't automatically make him good.

6. Blydell (9)- Solid Tupac impersonation

7. K.D. (11)- Forgettable.

8. Jvanizz (18) Anonymous.

9. Mel Balu (12)- Generic.

10. Kareem Rush (14)- Not a good idea.

Ron Ron and Yo Gotti were no-shows. Also noteworthy- several artists, including Tech N9ne, acknowledged the passing of Kansas City comedian Jus Jay.

(Original images of Tech N9ne, top, and Fat Joe, bottom, by There Stands the Glass.)

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