Mash Up Thursday @ the Miramar
by Sanam Tala Sadeghi
Thursday night’s show at the Miramar filled me with a sense of excitement about the Milwaukee music scene that I haven’t felt in a while. While I really like hip hop, I know very little about the local scene. I came to hear about this show through my friend Kellen “Klassik” Abston, who was performing. I have seen him perform before and he and his friend Karl “¡Oye!” Iglesias are both really talented producers and rappers. I asked about the details and upon hearing that “one of the guys from Chester French” was hosting, my knee-jerk reaction was to roll my eyes a little bit.
Anywho, enough of my curmudgeonly rant. I arrived a little bit after the show started, not really knowing what to expect other than ¡Oye! and Klassik. There was some mediocre RnB singer on when I arrived, and all I could think about was how old I felt. By the time I got myself situated, the singer stopped, and D.A. came on stage. He began a giveaway, including t-shirts from the Flow Clothing Co., condoms, and (oh joy) Chester French cds. Meanwhile, the live band, Urbansol, was setting up on the left side of the stage; the right side of the stage was designated for DJ Willie Shakes, who was surrounded by an ever changing group of performers and friends. Next to perform was Kimberlee, someone from the Kiss FM Idol series (I guess Kiss FM had an American Idol competition??). She played a song or two that she wrote, and ended with a cover of Katy Perry’s “Thinking of You.” She had a nice voice, if you’re into that sort of thing. Kimberlee was good at what she did, but I find that sort of pop music to be dull. She finished up her set and D.A. came back on stage to talk about the sponsors of the show: MyBarCard, 99problems.org, and Mash Up Thursdays, which is to be a regular night. Rather than have an email list, Mash Up Thursdays has a free text message list that keeps you informed about the upcoming shows via text. Technology prevails!
Next up were ¡Oye! and Klassik, backed by Urbansol (who were total funkadelic greatness). These kids have got it. From the moment they got on stage, the two of them exuded confidence and charisma. Klassik was bouncing and dancing around stage, with the same smile and excitement of a little kid who can barely contain himself. ¡Oye! was dancing and rapping with intensity but you could tell he was still having fun from his frequent smiles. These two engaged the audience and for the first time since I arrived I started having a really good time. Aside from the well crafted beats and great flow, ¡Oye! and Klassik had me captivated throughout the whole performance. Their stage presence is undeniable, and they’ve got the style and the material to back it up. I was pleased that they played the first substantial set of the night, including “Moon Rock” (you can actually listen to the live version from Thursday on 99problems.org), “Laughing Matter” and “Not Even,” both of which have become recent favorites of mine. I think it’s really great how much these boys have done, and at such a young age. I can’t wait to see what they do in the future, and if you have any interest in hip hop, hell, if you have any interest in good music, you should check them out.
Afterward, things became a bit of a clusterfuck. There was a series of shoutouts, including Milwaukee favorite Prophetic, and a couple short performances by singer Mello and rapper Ray Nitti. The night was to end with a performance from the Cranberry Show, whom I had never heard of. Keeping in theme with the confusion, it took a minute for the Cranberry Show to get on stage, as it seemed that no one knew where they were.
When they finally got on stage, I was pleasantly surprised with what I saw. A veritable tour de force, the Cranberry Show is made up of Arcane aka “Sir Mc Fresh” and Young Focus aka “Revenge of the ‘burbs.” Arcane and Young Focus walked on stage wearing blazers, suspenders, ties, dress pants, and skate shoes, all brightly colored. I think my favorite part of the ensemble was Arcane’s flat rimmed baseball cap that read “ILL.” They started off the set asking exactly what it was that girls like? To which a clever audience member responded, “Orgasms!” After some banter they started the song, aptly named “Girls Like.” These guys are incredibly witty, and have a great sense of humor. You can hear the influence of old school hip hop, yet their sound is fresh and unique. Their energy was great and they kept the crowd going the whole time, shit talking and dancing around, especially while playing “Grind it Out,” during which they asked the audience to rap along. The Cranberry Show also took the time to introduce all the members of Urbansol, my personal favorite (and probably everyone else’s) being the older guitar player with long dreads, who at one point started playing the guitar behind his head. Before their last song, the duo tried to get the audience on stage. Meanwhile they started playing the music, which had a girl repeatedly saying “I’m horny.” Upon noticing that mostly males had gotten on stage, Arcane and Young Focus kept encouraging the ladies to get on stage with them, saying they “don’t do sausage fests.” So they ended their set with their song “I’m Horny,” which is exactly what it sounds like, including appropriate pelvic thrusting during the chorus.
Like I said earlier, this show really got me hyped about the Milwaukee music scene, and I hope that if you haven’t already, you take the time to look into some of these artists, because they are completely worthy of your time.