A little late notice, I know, but here it is: tonight's Gym Class Heroes/RX Bandits/P.O.S./K-os show at The Meridian is gonna be fucking insane. Why? Well, while I do like the Heroes ("Papercuts" is a fine, fine track), enjoy the Bandits (who contributed one of the best tracks on the first Rock Against Bush comp, "Overcome (The Recapitulation)"), and am curious about K-os (haven't heard him yet, sorry), it's P.O.S. who's the real draw for me.
Seriously, the first time I heard last year's Audition (which, sadly, wasn't 'til this year, or it definitely would've made my best-of-'06 list), I was floored. P.O.S. (Stefon Alexander to his 'rents) and his Doomtree crew take hip-hop and deconstruct it like only a connoisseur of punk rock could, throwing in metal guitars, screamed vocals, and beats that don't just slam but crunch and blast, throwing all expectations and rules out the window in the process.
In some ways, the sound's pretty familiar -- the production owes a lot to fellow Twin Cities denizens Atmosphere (which makes sense considering that P.O.S. is on Rhymesayers, and rapper Slug guests on two tracks), and shares the same self-deprecating wiseass sense of humor as a lot of P.O.S.'s Rhymesayers labelmates. The guy's delivery reminds me at points of Slug's and at points of, um, Eminem's, especially on tracks like "Paul Kersey to Jack Kimball," where he snarls and spits like he's Mathers' long-lost brother. I don't mean that as a slam, by the way -- say what you will about Em, but the guy can throw down on a track if he's got some decent beats.
Despite the familiarity, though, Audition ends up being something I, for one, sure as hell haven't ever heard before. The crushing fury of "Half-Cocked Concepts" (which owes itself partly to Emily Bloodmobile's production) leaves me gasping for breath and pounding my fists on the table/steering wheel every time I listen, "De La Souls" makes me smile, with its sweetly contemplative sound and cool guest vocals from the Bouncing Souls' Greg Attonito, and strange, slippery "Safety in Speed (Heavy Metal)" incorporates but isn't overwhelmed by Craig Finn's meandering observation-poetry (never clicked before that Predator featured two future governors, actually...), which is definitely saying something about how good the track is as a whole.
I love the metal guitar and frustration on "P.O.S. Is Ruining My Life," dig the lyrics on "Living Slightly Larger" ("I got the skills to pay the bills / And that's about it"), and freak other drivers out when I'm headbanging to those awesome blasts of horns and hard-soul drumming on "Stand Up (Let's Get Murdered)." I listen again and again, and each time something new pops its head up -- that doesn't happen to often these days with jaded ol' me.
The sad part is that I'd bet a lot of hip-hop headz out there would look at P.O.S. sideways, just because of his skate-punk background (he still plays in a punk band called Building Better Bombs on the side). And that's a damn shame, because this is well worth listening to, even by so-called purists. But who knows? Maybe I'm wrong and the guy just needs more publicity -- if a fellow ex-skate-punk like Lil' Jon can make it big, there's no damn reason why P.O.S. shouldn't be able to.
Alright, with the raving/ranting out of the way, are you ready for the bad news? According to the Meridian's Website, the show's sold out. Ah, shit. I was actually gonna try to weasel my way out of the house tonight for this one, but lazy ass that I am, I couldn't be bothered to get tickets in advance, so...I'm screwed. Damn.
But hey, this is Houston, which means that there's bound to be some shady guy in a hoodie hanging out in the parking lot trying to scalp tickets to the show, right? Or, heck, maybe this is another one of those sponsored-by-Camel deals, and your cigarette-smoking pals can hook you up -- it'd explain a lot if that were the case, by the way, since I'm kinda stunned to see a show with these folks all sold out...
Either way, if anybody makes it in (or had the foresight to get tickets before now), let me know how the show is, eh? Everything I've heard about all these people live has been good, esp. with P.O.S. -- when I got to talk w/Slug a while back, he raved about touring with 'em/him, and he sounded pretty sincere about it, so y'know.
(P.S. Stay tuned for an interview with P.O.S. sometime in the next few weeks. Our man Mars (aka Brian P.) will hopefully be meeting up with our current favorite hip-hop people this very evening, if all goes as planned. Keep yr fingers crossed...)
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