Local acts Yea Big + Kid Static brought the funk and Mahjongg brought the noise to Schubas on Thursday night, but the music was put on hold while another Chicago-based act, Barack Obama, accepted the Democratic party's presidential nomination in Denver.
“We'd like to thank Obama for opening for us tonight,” Stefen Robinson, aka Yea Big, humbly said a few songs into the set. Yea (pronounced "yay") Big embodies geek hip-hop: His scraggly beard and nerdy glasses are topped off with a sweatband to hold back his thick, short curly hair, while his track short-shorts and tube socks assure you this guy's ready to move.
After warming up with stretches to two songs (one too long), Yea Big and Kid Static-- Big's lankier counterpart, more plainly clothed in a white T-shirt-- ripped into an assortment of spit-fast rhymes and nasty chants. They performed on the floor with the audience, who gave them plenty of room, allowing them space not only for jumping in unison during a chorus, but breaking down into a dance-off at a climax. The beats were strong and the duo's energy was overpowering enough, and with songs about Mega Man and being told to “eat your sandwich,” Yea Big + Kid Static pulled off their sophomoric humor by letting the crowd in on the joke.
Without too much delay, Mahjongg took to the stage with an amazing amount of percussion instruments. Understandably so, they were fucking loud. LOUD. In a sea of lights and much more smoke, the guys set a fast pace and kept a reverberating vibe the entire show.
“Tell the Police the Truth” was a highlight. Constant, trashy, high-pitched whirring for minutes on end may not sound great at first, but with the right head tossing fans lost track of the beat, yet kept moving anyway-- and this song was one to get it going. Whenever Mahjongg gets a little too noisy, poppier elements break through and their sound becomes much more than simply a lot of drumming in unison.
After an hour of disjointed rhythms, switching instruments and howling in unison, the band finished around midnight. The crowd began to chant "One more song!" but to no avail. Mahjongg pleased the crowd enough to want more, but politely refused to give in, turning instead to the wires twisting around their instruments, slowly untangling the masses.
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