Local hip-hop artists threw the biggest 502 party on Forecastle’s smallest stage

WDRB

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – While big name acts like Sam Smith and My Morning Jacket brought in the crowds at Forecastle this year, it was the little Ocean Stage tucked under the interstate that packed in Saturday’s most surprisingly raucous crowd.

Local hip-hop artist Dr. Dundiff worked hard to get himself into the lineup at Forecastle and he brought as many friends with him as he could.

Billed as Dr. Dundiff and friends, the Doctor was joined on stage by the who’s who of local hip-hop acts – many of whom he produces.

Everyone from Shadowpact and Touch AC to Jalin Roze and Bird Zoo – including 1200 Music, Bonez KY and Smoke Shop Kids – packed on to the small stage to drop verses and, basically, put on a big party in celebration of Louisville’s underground music scene. Beach balls, water guns and a hot pink wig added up to one of the better shows we saw all weekend. There’s something about a bunch of guys having a good time on stage that really catches on with an audience.

Of course, everyone was bound to have a good time when local hero Jim James took the stage to join the party. Simply finishing the set adding some backing vocals – the energy was electric and there probably wasn’t anyone happier than Dr. Dundiff himself who gave Jim James a big hug at the end.

Concert Review: Jalin Roze, 1200, Touch AC & The Smoke Shop Kids, Shadowpact at Mercury Ballroom

LEO WEEKLY

Anymore it’s a herculean effort to drag my sorry ass out of the house. I have a baby girl at home. I’ve tried to teach her to cook for herself, and have even signed her up to Career Builder, because she’s got to pull her weight, but she’s just ornery like that. And at four months old, so you know, she isn’t always exactly sleeping, which means neither am I. That also means that the idea of going somewhere has landed somewhere near the bottom of my list. Regardless of the fact that the show Saturday night featured some of best hip-hop acts in the city and that it was free, this dude just wanted to doze off watching Twin Peaks at 9:30, because that’s how my life is now.

But, I ended up actually dragging my sorry ass out of the house, even convincing my gracious wife to make it a date. We got to the Mercury Ballroom early, like the un-cool codgers we are. The venue wasn’t quite so packed as I figured it would be, although that wasn’t an issue for long. The folks at DO502 had a Wheel Of Fortune-type game set up, which I gladly played because “free drink” was one of the prizes. And I got it, because the power of my mind is fierce.

The show opened with Shadowpact and goddamn those kids brought it full-force. The crowd wasn’t quite fully formed yet, as people were still slowly filtering in, but they played like they were performing in a stadium. As is often the case, the sound man wasn’t especially generous to the opener, giving them something noticeably quieter and with less impact, as if there was some kind of premium on volume or righteous beats. This seems like a common practice, and one that ought to be retired at this point.

Touch AC was up next, joined this evening by the Smoke Shop Kids, a live hip-hop/funk group. It was great, and built on that energy established by Shadowpact in a complementary way. Touch balanced his own material and collaborative work, which made for a nice mix throughout. Jalin Roze brought a similar energy, backed by many of the same members for a set that was equally memorable.

It’s safe to say that 1200 stole the show — surprising when you consider his time spent performing is, I believe, less than a full year. Like Shadowpact, 1200 was backed by DJs, but he also brought back-up singers, and had all sorts of fun crowd participation moments — and it was more than the traditional throwing of your hands in the air, a good thing as my inner-punk rock kid bristles at being told what to do. And it was incredible. His set was such a rowdy banger, with beats thick with sub-bass combined with his background in classic composition and untouchable emcee style.

Whether he was jumping into the crowd or having roses thrown into it, 1200 commanded the audience like a fucking boss, and brought the hype to my tired old bones, despite it being well passed my bedtime. It was truly a banner night for local hip-hop.

REVIEW: A FREE NIGHT OF LOUISVILLE HIP-HOP

Louisville.com

“Free” usually comes with the connotation of poor quality, but this couldn’t be further from the truth when it comes to DO502‘s first Free Week series. In fact, last night’s final show at Mercury Ballroom proved it to be a complete success. Powerful, engaging performances from Jalin Roze, 1200, Touch AC, The Smoke Shop Kids and Shadowpact made Saturday a memorable night for Louisville hip-hop.

Being fairly new to Louisville’s hip-hop scene, I can soundly say I am impressed and excited for what’s to come. These emcees blew me away with their ability to perform, collaborate with one another, and pack an audience. Everyone showcased original talent and more importantly love for their city and fans.

Shadowpact brought the initial vibes to the crowd with a confident duo. Modern Marvill and Sleye Kooper immediately engaged the audience with “No Comment.” These young dudes are fun to watch and pack some clever rhymes about seemingly nerdy pop-culture references.

While, Shadowpact was entertaining, I am always more engaged when a full band is backing an emcee. The Smoke Shop Kids were invaluable to the rotating cast of rappers. I really mean “rotating” too. During Touch Ac’s performance guest after guest shared the stage. It was honestly hard to keep up with, but I still wanted more. I kept thinking “if this is only the second performer; I can’t wait to see what’s about to happen next.”

I wasn’t let down. Jalin Roze has the ability to energize a room with a seemingly chill flow. Don’t get me wrong, his performance was definitely energetic, but there’s something about him that relaxes you and keeps you grooving all at the same time. I think he is so captivating because of his authenticity. It’s obvious he carries the essence Louisville’s culture right on his back.

1200 marked the end of the show, but not the vibes. An already untouchable energy pumped through the crowd and 1200 demanded more. He’s a showman. A real performer with a bold statement. “Was this really a free show?” He made me feel like I had paid to be there. Igniting musical emotion in the crowd and interacting with eager fans made for an intimate and powerful performance.