Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Best in Town

It is no secret that, due to my rural isolation, I rarely get the chance to catch my favorite acts without a significant road trip involved. Thus, when int eighty emailed me to say he would be in nearby Clemson, SC for SoutheEast|LinuxFest, I was ecstatic. I have literally been a fan of Dual Core since the opening strains of their debut album Zero One, and after Josh (my best friend and regular travelling companion) and I hung out with him at Nerdapalooza '08, a similarly instantaneous bond was formed.

Last Saturday, Josh drove down from Charlotte, picking me up on the way, and we headed to my state's premiere town-built-around-a-college. Once there, we were reunited with eighty and introduced to the one and only Remington Forbes (fellow Cincinnati native and eighty's longtime friend/collaborator) at local restaurant, watering hole and stuffed penguin sanctuary Rock Hoppers. As the sun went down and the DJ's set came to a close, it was show time.

The set itself was phenomenal! Short but undeniably sweet. Eighty brought it every bit as hard for a room full of a few dozen Linux faithful – a group to which I will henceforth refer as to "Free as in Beards" crowd – as he did for a whole bar full of nerdcore fans at 'Palooza. And Remy, who I'd never had the pleasure of hearing live before, came correct despite the fact that he spent his entire time at the venue leading up to the show tossing back beers with me. Suffice it to say that it was well worth the drive just to catch them performing "Cipher Punks," one of my favorite tracks from the Zero One.

Stuff started off with an impromptu run-in, a crazy idea from eighty that Josh and I fully endorsed. After that, Remy and eighty favored us with some of their unique on-stage chemistry and literate, technological rhymes.

The order of the day (night?) was freestyling, which both rappers performed expertly. And between the well-rehearsed verses and the improvised lyricism, the guys managed to keep their intended audience – which included the young attendee who served as the band's own S1 – enthralled while even eliciting interest from the venue's other patrons.

After the show, eighty, Remy, Josh and I claimed a booth and shot the proverbial shit. It was here that I received my fair share of that free beer that Linux lovers are always talking about, as the drink tickets were plentiful. We talked Nerdapalooza line-up, operating systems, building climbing vs. dumpster diving, the evils of purple drank and, of course, hip-hop.

Due to South Carolina blue laws, our guests got to experience what we sometimes refer to in the local parlance as being "closed out" – the bar stopped serving shortly before midnight and then turned the house lights up to persuade those of us who had settled into drunken stupors to vacate the premises – but that just gave us a chance to step outside and get a quick album preview.

A small crowd gathered around Josh's truck as eighty played a trio of early mixes from Dual Core's forthcoming release Next Level. Both to maintain whatever meager "journalistic integrity" I may possess and because eighty is a friend, I won't elaborate too much as to what we heard, but I can tell you that the tracks further expanded upon the Dual Core sound we've come to love. Lyrically, eighty was as on point as ever, and, musically-speaking, c64 seemed to be working with instrumental beds that were a bit denser and noticeably sharper. This, in turn, gave the selections an almost darkly futuristic feel. Of particular note was the final cut, which used an urgent vocal hook that sampled, among other things, an easily recognizable line from a Dual Core guest rapper from a previous release.

Throughout the night it was revealed that Remington Forbes was on track to be featured on a cut or two, and eighty revealed that a new song I had previously heard would also be tapped for Next Level. From all I heard, I have to admit that this has easily jumped to the top of my most anticipated albums list, and, knowing eighty, I'm sure he'll be more than willing to keep me in the loop as it comes together. (And I'll also let slip that there was an insinuation that some of this new material could conceivably be performed live at this summer's Nerdapalooza. /fingers crossed)

So, in summation: Josh and I had a great time hanging out with int eighty again, Remington Forbes is a gentleman and a scholar (and a die-hard KRS fan), the set was short but amazing and the new Dual Core album is shaping up to be a worthy successor to their previous exemplary work. Oh, and also, eighty will totally get you drunk if you're not careful. Consider yourselves warned.


Church said...


Shael Riley said...

The bar STOPPED serving before midnight? There are places in my neck of the woods that don't even open until after.

What the heck does everybody do after midnight in South Carolina? Go to sleep?

Torboxx said...

"Free as in Beards"

haha. Clever, i like it.

Z. said...

I just feel bad for not recording the whole set, Church. Had I known it was gonna be a short one, I could've preserved it all for posterity.

Sadly true, Shael. SC blue laws say no alcohol sales on Sunday, so Saturday before midnight the bars go dry. :(

I try to get a jab in where I can, Torboxx.