There are about 465 words I’ll use to describe the energy at the Kooley High CD Release party this past Saturday night at The Pour House. Not only did Lazurus, Actual Proof, King Mez, and Kooley High deliver, they all captured the crowd’s attention throughout the entire show. Each set was quick, to the point and fun — something I often miss at an indie rock show.
I arrived at The Pour House around ten to find a healthy throng of people smoking their last cigarettes before the show started. King Mez was standing outside and hyped up the show by telling us how pumped he was for it tonight. Just seeing his energy got me excited to see what would happen inside. Lazurus took to the stage right on time. This guy is a super hyped-up MC that had me laughing and throwing my hands back and forth with the crowd. He started his set with some a cappella rhymes and then brought out the beats for about thirty minutes. He wrapped up his set with a gift for the fans– T-shirts and albums. Luckily, I managed to snag an album.
Actual Proof set up shop next. These two young guys from Raleigh’s own Enloe High School killed it on stage. Not only did they look fresh, but they sounded smart, fast, and just plain good.
In between sets I had to fight my way back to the bar to refill my drink. That’s a good thing when it comes to local music shows. All kinds of people were coming together for this show and everyone was pushing for a place near the stage.
I made my way up to the second story to capture the energy of King Mez. The picture below captures the best point of the night in my opinion. Everyone watched as the rapper performed solo. I loved his introductions to his producers and shout outs to his friends. His personality shone through his entire set.
Lastly, Kooley High performed against the festive decor surrounding the stage. Female emcee Rhapsody put the Christmas lights to shame in her performance with fellow group members Charlie Smarts and Tab One. The group was celebrating the release of their new album “Kooley High Presents… David Thompson” which is available digitally here. Kooley High has a lot to celebrate, including the success of their show. They got at least one new fan who walked away from the venue still humming their beats in my head.
David Thompson is an N.C. State basketball legend. He led the Wolfpack to its first NCAA championship in 1974, and he graces the cover of Raleigh-based Kooley High’s newest album, Kooley High Presents… David Thompson. This Saturday, Dec. 10, hip-hop enthusiasts will celebrate the release of this new album with a CD release party at The Pour House in downtown Raleigh featuring Kooley High, King Mez, Actual Proof, and Lazurus. The show is 21+ and doors open at 9 p.m.
I’m what you might call a hip-hop novice. I set my Pandora to Mos Def and I’m good for hours. Kooley High Presents… David Thompson is definitely helping me branch out into the genre. The group of former NCSU students layers funky beats and clever rhymes to create a sound that I’m not quite used to, but I’m definitely into. I’m especially a fan of track six, a special anthem titled “Dear Raleigh” that actually makes me feel attached to the red-brick ocean that is NCSU. New Raleigh blog agrees that Kooley High does Raleigh justice.
Adam Kincaid will host the group on The Local Beat tonight from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. I’m hoping to get a glimpse into Kooley High’s inspiration, their reasoning behind the iconic album cover, and hear more about their upcoming show.
Luckily for you (and me), I will be attending Saturday’s show and reporting back on Monday, Dec. 12. Come back to the blog to read about my experience with four of Raleigh’s best hip hop artists.
Friday, Sept. 2 on “The Local Beat” is the first live program since July and it is jammed full of some amazing guests.
Last year we had Independent Weekly Music Editor and Hopscotch Music Festival Curator Grayson Currin on the program for a full three hours to talk about the first ever Hopscotch. This year we toned it down a bit and Grayson, along with Hopscotch Marketing Director Greg Lowenhagen are coming in for one hour from 5-6 p.m. Join us as we chat about this year’s festival from the eyes of the men behind it.
At 6 p.m. local hip-hop act Kooley High is dropping in for the first time in quite awhile. The group is playing at Kings Barcade with King Mez, HaLo, and Drique London. The show is all ages and cost $1, with the starting time planned for around 10 p.m. I’ll be catching up with Kooley High and talking hip-hop.
The final hour of the show will belong to Hunter MacDermut, aka The Tourist, who is releasing a brand new 12 track album Sept. 3 at Marsh Woodwinds in Raleigh. Scott Phillips (of Goner, Monologue Bombs, and about 20 other local bands) will be opening and the show at 8 p.m. Hunter and I are going to talk about the new album and the show and spin some tracks off of it.
88.1 WKNC Pick of the Week 2/8/11, written by DJ Switch, WKNC deejay
You never think your kid’s ugly. Well, at least you never tell your kid you think they’re ugly. My parents never did. They did say I have a face for radio, but I never quite got what that meant. Either way, there’s no need to lie about the beauty of WKNC’s Double Barrel Benefit compilation, because even though the student radio station put it together, it’s a handsome piece of local music by all objective accounts. Recorded mostly in Caldwell Hall, this album was passed out to the crowd at 88.1′s annual benefit concert as they watched those very same bands bring down the house.
Showing the diversity of Raleigh’s music scene right off the bat is rapper Inflowential’s “Wherever.” It has a cheerful rhythm that reminds of Sugar Ray. As soon as you’re swaying to that, he slips in nonchalantly and starts commanding a pitter-patter of rhymes. Inflowential has an easy mastery of words like Nas or Jay Z, but with none of the intimidating lyrics.
Kid Future has some seriously artful song lyrics, such as “you were born with no blood, wind in your veins,” and the Old Ceremony has that simple beauty that you used to only be able to find in Bob Dylan or James Taylor songs.
Luego are students of the Guthrie school of folk rock, but, like Blitzen Trapper, they bring their modern indie rock sensibilities to give it a modern twist. Don’t let the song title fool you, “California” is an ode to the good old North State, done right by a group of native musicians with true Carolina accents.
Cassis Orange easily became one of my new favorite bands with their contribution, “May, June, July.” Now, normally I don’t like dance music. I think this aversion stems from a childhood of getting rejected by girls at the middle school dances — and an adulthood of getting rejected by some of those same girls at college parties — but this track made me forget all that entirely. It’s sort of like a mellowed-out Madonna, but not so dancey that it loses its beautiful, trippy melody and its mature songwriting.
Yardwork makes order out of chaos with “Hot Balloons.” The guitar solos seem to climb around the impassioned vocals like ivy, wrapping over the pounding snares in an effort to quell this eminent crescendo of emotion. Bright Young Things is a sort of happy hodgepodge resembling something like Kula Shaker or maybe even an experimental-era Beatles.
Like their name, Hammer No More the Fingers is something both indescribable and obvious. You can’t pin down exactly what it is that works for this band, but you know that it works— and “Blanko Basnet” definitely works. The vocals are some of the most unique I’ve ever heard. They have a slight adolescent twill, but still retain the power and resonance to howl above the rich intensity of the song.
No lie, this compilation is beautiful. Me, on the other hand—that might be another story.
by alexsanchez on Feb.07, 2011, under Local
by Tommyboy on Jan.11, 2011, under Local
Night two of Double Barrel Benefit 8 features Kid Future, HaLo, King Mez, Yardwork and Hammer No More the Fingers.
(Kieran Moreira, WKNC Program Director)
Kid Future could possibly be one of Raleigh’s best kept secrets. The indie band maintains a low profile online only featuring one of their recorded tracks. However, it can only be a matter of time before their talent betrays their anonymity. After catching them at a packed Slims Downtown in July and seeing them perform at Hopscotch in front of Raleigh Times, it’s clear that Kid Future has a knack for mesmerizing audiences. What’s to be expected from their performance? Dreamy synth sounds mixed with frontman Bryan Costello’s moody voice creates a recipe that is very reminiscent of the National and the Killers.
(Tommy Anderson, WKNC General Manager)
Ahem, that’s “hah-low,” or “Mr. Ben Ready” to you, good sir. This guy is witty, upbeat, and dare I say funky hip hop out of Raleigh. HaLo is connected with 9th Wonder, and he appears on Kooley High’s much acclaimed recent album Eastern Standard Time. This gentleman has already developed a name in the area and beyond (he’s also got one Local Beer Local Band under his belt.) Request his stuff on WKNC during Local Lunch and Underground. Fantastic stuff.
(Tommy Anderson, WKNC General Manager)
What can you say? If you were fortunate enough to catch any of King Mez’s performances in the area (or elsewhere), you know what an energetic, committed show he is able to put on. Street-wise lyrics, lush beats (provided by Commissioner Gordon on his most recent release “The Parapalegics” ), and a style that is all his own, King Mez is unforgettable and singularly compelling. As with HaLo, request this during Local Lunch as well as Underground. We’re very very excited to have King Mez on board making night two that much more of a treat for anyone lucky enough to get a ticket.
(Nicole Kligerman, WKNC Local Music Director)
Hailing from Charlotte, NC, Yardwork is described as playing “South Eastern Minimalist Pop/Prog.” No matter what you call this band’s music, it is awesome, and those who have seen this band live know that this will not be a show to miss. Complete with a large and eclectic cast skilled in multiple instruments, this group puts on a kaleidoscopic show that will entertain your eyes as well as your ears. Usually working with two simultaneous percussionists, the sound is so rich and deep that you’ll find a completely new array to look for in each song.
There isn’t a lot known about Yardwork, and the biography on the band’s Myspace is a story including feral, mutant school teachers and PV rays. Whatever the history of the band, the music they play is bad ass and great for jumping around.
Their Local Beer Local Band performance in 2010 was barely contained by the stage. The larger space at Kings should be a perfect opportunity for this helter-skelter outfit to unleash their full furry upon downtown Raleigh. I saw Yardwork for the first time at last years TRKfest and am so psyched for another chance to see the live energy at this years’ Double Barrel Benefit 8.
Hammer No More the Fingers
(Kieran Moreira, WKNC Program Director)
Possibly the coolest name for a band, Hammer No More The Fingers, hailing from Durham, are local heavy hitters with a UK tour under their belt. They’ve graced WKNC’s airwaves since 2007, so it’s only natural that they take their place as Double Barrel Benefit night two headliners. Looking For Bruce, which released in 2009, cemented the band’s success meshing a blend of quirkiness, mid-twenties male humor, rock, and pop. What’s to be expected from HNMTF at Double Barrel Benefit 8? Raw energy. Although a lot of indie artists delve into bubbly pop sounds, HNMTF tries to remain edgier and grittier with sharp guitar licks and soaring vocals. We are very excited to have these fellas on board as headliners.
by DJ Elly May on Dec.14, 2010, under Promotions
Here at WKNC we’re all about the joy of giving, and in that spirit, we present you with this week’s giveaways.
12/16: Trekky Records presents “Christmas at the Cradle” featuring The Old Ceremony, Filthybird, The Tender Fruit, and more! All at Cat’s Cradle. And we have tickets for electronica group Conspirator at Lincoln Theatre.
12/18: Cherry Bounce Vaudeville Show at Kings featuring Hank Sinatra, The Floating Children, and Gouge Wrestling. We also have tickets for KO Kid with King Mez and more at Cat’s Cradle and Tonk at Casbah in Durham.
by Audity on Nov.03, 2010, under Local
Thursday, November 4—Local Band Local Beer!
A Listening party for Freedom Suite, a new album from The Beast and Nnenna Freelon, featuring performances from The Beast, King Mez, Carlitta Durand, Brody & Choch, and a special turntablism, live drums, and sampling set from producers The Apple Juice Kid and Zakee who have worked with M.I.A., Wale (pronounced Wal-lay), and Rye Rye.
The Beast will headline this show and special guests include:
Producers The Apple Juice Kid (has worked w/ Wale, Camp Lo) and Zakee (has worked w/ M.I.A., Rye Rye) will be performing a collaborative set featuring turntablism, live percussion, and sampling.
Brody & Choch
For more information about The Beast visit:
The show is FREE. Ages 21 and up. Starts at 10pm.
by Tommyboy on Oct.20, 2010, under Local
The NCSU College of Design has a lot going for it: the prettiest slice of campus, convenient juxtaposition with Pullen Park and the railroad tracks, the coolest bikes, an awesome-looking dean…and the list continues. In short, the cool place to be is rarely far from Brooks Hall. This Saturday (October 24th) will be no exception, as the Design Council will be throwing their annual Halloween Bash.
This year’s shindig features treats from different poles of the local music spectrum: the always-charming, Dylan-scented indie troubadours Lonnie Walker, the exceedingly talented hip-hop monarch King Mez, as well as DJs The Biters and Holygrailers.
Tickets are ten bucks; full event info is available here!
This coming Friday on the Local Beat will be another fantastic evening as I will be joined by several different guests.
5 p.m. brings in one of my favorite groups in the area, Carrboro folksters Mandolin Orange, coming on to promote an upcoming show at the Local 506. The show is this Saturday, October 16, with Greg Humphreys. It should make for a fascinating concert on Saturday but also some great conversation and live radio Friday evening.
And I also interview Greg Humphreys recently as well:
At 6 p.m., Gray Young is coming back on the show once again to talk about their brand new album. If you recall the group came in back in early August before the album was ready to be released. Staysail is going to be released on October 23 at the Pour House, and we will talk about that in full.
For the final hour of the show, local hip-hop star King Mez is dropping by with ex DJ Big Fat Sac and several other representatives of the Cooke Street Carnival that is being held this Saturday on Cooke Street in downtown Raleigh. We will be talking about the festival and catching up with the King.
Signal, the Southeast Electronic Music Festival, kicked off its fifth year last night with a hip-hop show at Cat’s Cradle featuring Pac Div, Kooley High, King Mez, and others and continues through Sunday in various Chapel Hill and Carborro venues. The festival features a wide array of acts, both national and local, from many different subgenres, including Le Castle Vania, Cex, Sammy Bananas, Tittsworth, The Beast, The ExMonkeys, and WKNC’s own Brooklyn Airlift.
Weekend passes for the fest are available for $40 today at the Ackland Art Museum from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m., Tallula’s starting at 10:00 p.m., and at Vespa on Friday night starting at 10:00 p.m. Individual tickets for each show will be available at the door of the venue the night of the show.
For more information on the festival, including schedules and past acts, check out their website here
by Audity on Jul.11, 2010, under Local
Photographs taken by WKNC photographer Katie Hill
Tir na nOg and WKNC bring you, once again, the fun time that is Local Beer Local Band Night! Remember, these shows are 21 and up, FREE, and always a great way to spend your Thursday evening.
Both bands offer long, epic, and ambient instrumentals that, for me at least, really make you think. This week’s bands cater to the fans of our Post Rock Block on Sunday’s from 6-7 p.m. So check that out as well!
These two guys seem to make enough noise to sound like a band with a good four or five members. The music is instrumental and very post-rock. Here in the station, while listening to The Bronzed Chorus, I overheard our deejay Escher say, “I could definitely see two giant robots battling to this.” He couldn’t be more spot on.
This group is similar in sound to the Bronzed Chorus but a bit harder. This band is actually from Atlanta, GA, but will be touring with The Bronzed Chorus across the nation this summer.
by Audity on Jul.02, 2010, under Local
Last night’s Local Beer Local Band photos, taken by WKNC photographer Katie Hill
WKNC and Tir Na Nog are proud to present KOOLEY HIGH and KING MEZ at Local Beer Local Band Night on July 8!
Kooley High has always been a favorite for the Triangle’s music-going crowd. They blew up the courtyard with their high-energy performance behind Talley Student Center for one of our Friday’s on the Lawn series last fall. Our best turnout for the whole FOTL music series.
“Kooley High combines traditional hip-hop and R&B with a modern freestyle that traverses effortlessly between not only genres, but also generations. The result is a three-dimensional concoction that envelops listeners in a sound that is as smooth as The Fugees and Common, as passionate as Mary J. Blige, and as intelligent as Hieroglyphics.” —URB Magazine
King Mez and Commissioner Gordon make up the next big BIG name in underground Hip-Hop. You might as well see them now before the tickets to their shows cost you half your paycheck.
Eric Tullis, writer for the Independent, describes King Mez’s performance as “the veteran work ethic of an old soul with youthful enthusiasm. He bounces around as if permanently affixed to a pogo stick, cheering on Commissioner Gordon as he works in some of his new beats from his drum machine.”
The show is FREE, ages 21+. Starts at 10 p.m. Tir Na Nog has a wide selection of local brew specials from Big Boss, Aviator, LoneRider, French Broad, Foothills, and more!
Come down to Local Beer Local Band on July 8 to see Raleigh’s—and now Brooklyn’s—premier hip-hop group, KOOLEY HIGH, and the up-and-coming KING MEZ!