We did it!
By just about every metric the first ever Axe To Grind Black Alternative Music Mega Concert was a success. “Rock” came home to San Francisco and found family, friends and loved ones ready to rock out with him. Rock brought his sista-Rock with him as it wouldn’t have been the same without her.
The evening got started with 14-year-old saxophone-phenom Kareem Wali of The Jamming Nachos teaming up with Oakland Future Trio for a jazz jam session.
That was followed by a full set from Oakland Future Trio. As expected these young SUPER musically gifted jazz musicians set the bar high for the ATG acts to follow. Caleb on keys, Ari on bass and Mikhi on drums. From top to bottom a freakish display of musicianship. These young guys make me proud to be a musician. They take the shit seriously as true playas should. Their musical wizardry is absolutely captivating. Highlight here was their neo-soul-smooth-jazz rendition of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” Jaws dropped when that haunting melody became clear to the ears. That was special! They also unleashed some jazzified originals. That is important to note because if these guys are the future of jazz (as I believe they are) they will have to bring fresh material to the game to push it forward. Check-mate here!
Stymie & The Pimp Jones Love Orchestra followed OFT. In true Stymie fashion he grabbed a chair, stood a top, and lead the PJLO into a funkyass booty bumping attack of fun loving dance music. The ATG Party had officially begun. Asses wuz shake’n everywhere. Band was tight as spandex on folks who should never wear spandex. This was a fun, fun, FUN show! In this line up of performers Stymie was the veteran performer among the veteran performers. He personifies black alternative as he has done so since the mid-nineties. He has been there, done that and remains that! The ATG show would not have been the same without him and his band. Where do you hear horn lines in GOOD original funk music these days? You don’t unless your listening to music written by Stymie and performed by his badass band!
After that it was time for some head banging rock! Enter Quart of Blood Technique. These four-brothers by-passed the ATG backline and brought their own gear, cranked it up and blew us all away! Lead singer and QBT song writer Shaun Bivens was playful with the audience, effortlessly skillful on lead guitar and genuinely authentic in rock attitude. Did I mention these guys were loud? It was a rock show. It had to be loud. The ATG audience LOVED IT! These brothers remind us all that the roots of rock are black! They don’t talk about it. They just be-about-it! Go see them wherever they are playing. It will change your life forever! QBT know the rock game as they have been at it together or in other bands prior since they were kids. Highlights were a cover of The Beach Boys “God Only Knows” and everything they played from their Revenge of The Black Dragon Album.
The Jamming Nachos played an inspired set starting with Messiah on the mic opening with their Afropunk anthem “It Could Have Been Me” dedicated to unarmed black lives lost during encounters with police and wannabe police in America. The band flew in their lead singer Elena Ruiz all the way from college in New York City to be a part of ATG. Elena showed why. She rocked the mic like a young rock-goddess. Her childhood band mates brought the thunder. The only drum solo of the night happened in this set and it was world shattering! There were a couple of hiccups though. One during TJN fan favorite “Go to Work” the band had to figure out, on stage, in front of a live audience, how to get into the jam. What could have been a seriously awkward moment turned out to be one of the more entertaining events in a powerhouse genre-bending TJN set. The next generation of Black Alternative Music is here and it is rocking hard!
ATG chose to close the show with the Punk Funk Mob. Well played ATG organizers! Keep in mind up to this point each band lifted the room to higher and higher heights, set after set, song after song, jam after jam. Then Femi and PFM took to the stage and blew the roof of the mutha-sucka! I mean, Femi is the real deal! She lead her band. She commanded the audience. She rocked the house. And she did it all with an authentic punk “fuck you” attitude! She even took the ATG audience to “fuck you” church with a sermon leading up to a mind blowing performance of “Fuck Everybody But Me.” Quincy Ramone and the band kept the fuzzed out rock sound thick, funky and punk throughout the set. No frills here! This is was an in your fucking face performance by the SF Bay Area’s IN YOUR FUCKING FACE BAND! You should have fucking been there.
However if you weren’t there don’t worry! When you finish reading, click on over to ATG-TV and check out the individual video performances and highlights. And whatever you do DON’T miss the next Axe To Grind Show!
This truly was the Bay Area’s Ultimate Black Alternative Music Experience!
Written between 4AM-5AM
Cuz I am a freaking Insomniac