It’d been a minute since I’d stepped inside the dim-lit confines of Logan’s Pub, but with promises of hip-hop from Grossbuster and Orilla, chill-hop from Bousada, and some good ol’ fashioned psych rock courtesy of Delores Haze, I was intrigued to see how the mix of styles would play out.
With a name that could have been lifted from a Jefferson Airplane B-side, Delores Haze do an amiable job of upholding the tenants of groove worship. Lead singer Jordy Pants, resplendent in shades and a wide-brimmed hat, dedicated the band’s songs to beer and marijuana as he wailed into the mic with piercing vigour. The scuzzy rhythms were reminiscent of early Fu Manchu, but where the magic really happened was in the airtight drumming of Matthias O’Flynn and the explosive solos summoned by guitarist Shishy Gibru, who birthed some nefarious licks that would have curled the devil’s tail. It’s true that the band didn’t necessarily reinvent the wheel of blues rock within their set, but by the time “Violet” came around (introduced as an ode to road head), I couldn’t help but headbang.
Aside from me and a few keen rockers, the crowd mostly stayed back during the Haze. But when Bousada got onstage, a flood of fans swarmed up front, and the message became clear: better bust a move or take a seat. Again, as a neophyte to Bousada’s work, I didn’t have any set expectation, but what I saw was enough to win me over. The term chill-hop can sometimes be used as a means of justifying bland or colourless instrumental hip-hop and electronic music; however, in Bousada’s case, it serves as an apt description of his laid-back and sinuous sound. The lush and provocative instrumentation is rooted in loops, synths and a driving bass that come together into full-bodied, soulful melodies. The kicker here is the vocal performance: Bousada half-raps, half-croons over many of his tunes, and it’s this addition that pushes his music from easy listening into required listening. One of the best moments of the night was when he traded verses with Orilla, who’d come up on stage for a guest spot.
All due credit to Orilla: the guy’s got passion. Not every rapper would do a show with a broken leg, but that’s what true grit looks like. Along with the devastating beats from mix-master Grossbuster, the two lit up the stage with explosive, forward-thinking hip-hop. The instrumentals covered the spectrum, from classic boom-bap to erratic, synthy space jams, but the blunt ferocity of Orilla’s rhymes kept things tethered, at times reminding me of a young Busta Rhymes. The best hip-hop is indebted to what came before it, and the mix of classic and contemporary sounds (as well as Grossbuster’s deftness on the MPC) is what ensured the success of the duo’s dynamite set.
left the venue feeling like I’d gotten way more than what I’d paid for. In one short night, I’d been wooed by three dope acts that I’d be sure to keep on my radar in the future.
- Chris Anhorn