Last Saturday, the sleepy town of Sunnyvale was awakened by the sounds of hip hop, and a lot more at the Peacock Lounge. Normally a sports bar with amenities such as pool tables and darts, as well as a great bar, on Saturday the Lounge was turned into a showcase of local hip hop talent from all over the Bay Area. Before I get into some of the highlights, I must applaud the Peacock and afto|n| events, who sponsored the show, giving up and coming artists a venue to display their talent.
I have been to other events from afto|n| at different locations, and actually preferred this place. It was cozy enough to keep the audience and the performers together, generating a different energy than I’ve seen at former events. Even with the lure of the pool tables and sports displayed on the big screens, the focus was really on the performers. They also did a great job of keeping the show going so people didn’t check out and leave early. The other plus? No smoke!
Before the show started, I was doing my normal people watching, noticing the clash of cultures in the shopping center. Right next to the lounge was a bbq place, that seemed to be frequented by seniors. They, in turn, had to pass a bunch of “urban hip hop young people” who were outside waiting for things to kick off. The look on a couple elderly women who couldn’t have been more than 5 feet tall as they passed a couple of 6’5″ black guys was pretty priceless.
In the Lounge, however, cultures blended around a love for music, technique, and respect for the performing arts. Even those that, for all intents and purposes, needed some help in their performance, received encouragement from the audience because everyone recognized the challenge of getting up on stage and performing in front of a crowd. All in all, it was a great show.
One of the highlights of the show was not from one of the young people though. As we watched performers change, we saw an elderly man take the mic. Since there was no real M.C., we weren’t sure if he was just holding it for someone, or if he was actually going on. To our surprise and amazement, he began to sing Ascension by Maxwell. The place started to settle in and notice. Then he took it back a little more old school… Freddie Jackson, You Are My Lady. The entire place stopped – he had a totally captive audience. If that wasn’t enough, he finished his set with Midnight Train to Georgia… Everyone in the club was singing backup to him! Personally, I would hate to be the act that went on after him.
Now I did have my own reason for hitting the club that night: my son Josh, a.k.a. Demo was performing songs from his newest mixtape that dropped the day before. Proud dad? Of course! That night, I was a groupie, with both camera and video camera going, acting like a paparrazi with a celeb. One of the songs he did, Left Behind was a collaboration with my other son Jon (Bled’Jon), which brought the crowd to their feet and to the stage.
Demo & Bled’Jon’s performance of Left Behind , video produced by Escotric
You can download Demo’s mixtape, Raw Footage, here: http://wrapgame.bandcamp.com/album/raw-footage-mixtape
To keep up on more of afto|n| shows, check their calendar of events: http://aftonshows.com/