Sensory Overload: Alleyes Path
To understand how much I appreciated Alleyes Path's set Saturday at Carabar, you must first understand how much I hated the rappers who opened for Clipse two nights earlier at BoMA.
Those haphazard crews came across like a garbled mess - a massive, too-many-cooks-in-the-kitchen sort of casserole that was probably more entertaining for the people on stage than the ones in the crowd.
Maybe there were some solid verses buried in there, but they were offset by clunky production and the overwhelming stimulation of too many dudes on the mic. I had to escape to the patio for most of the night until Clipse finally emerged at 1:15 a.m. to show those fools how it's done.
So I was primed for the stark minimalism of AP's setup: Two dudes, two mics.
Typically, DJ Self Help backs rapper Alleyes Manifest (Michael Bridgmon) and rapper-producer Path (Jared Young), but since he was off spinning at his monthly Dance Or Die party, the MCs rapped to pumped-in tracks.
That didn't seem to affect the immediacy of their performance. Dudes were charismatic up there, vibing in tandem to Path's production, an ethereal swirl of spooky jazz and soul samples, floating pianos and grimy beats. Its futuristic jazz club feel wasn't groundbreaking, but it was potent enough to mesmerize me into a head bob when I wasn't snapping photos.
That I could understand their lyrics was a nice touch; that they were deftly composed was even nicer. These guys make a big deal about bringing something expressive and original to the table, and while I can't remember any specific punch lines that knocked me out, I also can't remember any tired hip-hop cliches. They are true talents, the latest argument that our city's hip-hop scene hasn't run out of freshness after all.
AP got their start playing DIY rock shows, and Saturday's show was with rock bands as well. I missed their show opening for Greenhouse a few months back, but I'd be curious to see how a hip-hop crowd responds to them, especially opening for a bigger act at Skully's or BoMA. I know I wouldn't retreat to the patio.
For more local music news and reviews, click to the Sensory Overload blog.