#WMS 2012 recap: City Hall Street Level

Categories: Music Showcase

2012-westword-music-showcase_1984-002.jpg
Chris Morgan
1984 performing at City Hall Street Level at the 2012 Westword Music Showcase.

Every year, for the Westword Music Showcase, we enlist our army of Backbeat wordsmiths to host various stages, and, in addition to their emcee obligations, we ask them to pull double duty (or triple-duty in some cases) and also write up the acts that appear on their individual stages. Noah Hubbell hosted the City Hall street level stage. Page down to read his thoughts and see some photos.


CITY HALL STREET LEVEL

2012-westword-music-showcase_1984-001.jpg
Chris Morgan
1984 performing at City Hall Street Level at the 2012 Westword Music Showcase.

The high-energy duo, 1984, provided a sick mix of electronic rhythm and old-school '90s style hip-hop lyrics. Big J. provided the beats and MarkyBias threw down as would be expected of a freestyle champion. Because of their starting time, the crowd was far thinner than it would be for later acts, but the guys did not sell themselves short in the energy department.

The group's dynamic wasn't only traditional producer/rapper, though; there were several instrumental breaks during the duo's short set reminiscent of DJ Shadow's legendary Endtroducing album. On the whole, the performance was very satisfying.

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Chris Morgan
Turner Jackson performing at City Hall Street Level at the 2012 Westword Music Showcase.

Utilizing a new-school flow that contrasted perfectly with the jazzy, soulful, old-school beats and a knack for simple, yet evocative hooks, Turner Jackson put on a hell of a show. Along with his dynamic sonic performance, Jackson kept the energy high with his stylishly restrained N.E.R.D.-esque foot-stomping and fist-pumping.

Live drums by Big J. Beats of 1984 added another dimension to the performance -- a rock element that gave extra depth to the show. Before and after his performance, Jackson gave lots of love to his fellow performers -- at times, the most energetic dancer off the stage. This is a guy who clearly likes to have a good time.

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Chris Morgan
option4 performing at City Hall Street Level at the 2012 Westword Music Showcase.

Option4 kept spirits high during his set, blending syncopated drum beats with thumping basslines. There were some great head-nodding moments, the best of which being when he cut the thumping in favor of an airy "yippee-ki-yay" sample.

Real Magic, who followed, utilized a diverse sound to accomplish a unique and interesting soundscape reminiscent of the late '80s, accompanied at times by alternately deep and falsetto ethereal vocals, wailing (literally, like a whale) into the mike.

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Chris Morgan
Real Magic performing at City Hall Street Level at the 2012 Westword Music Showcase.

A true showman, Real Magic would occasionally slap the cymbals of the unused drum set behind him with his open hand or the mike to punctuate his performance and provide extra flair. Mid-set, his mixer began to fail him and his mike started to cut out, but he recovered fine and finished strong. Real Magic also did a solid cover of Robyn's "Dancing On My Own."

Location Info

Venue

Map

City Hall

1144 Broadway, Denver, CO

Category: Music

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