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This Little Underground

Our live music columnist checks out Ralphfest 2 and The Sword

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Former hometown boy Eric Gebhardt returned with the most furnished iteration I've seen yet of his typically solo Red Mouth project (Nov. 30, Will's Pub). The addition of local drummer Dana Fasano and Gebhardt's regular guitarist back home in Alabama – as well as an organ – presented a robust roadhouse version of his music, stylizing it in a good-but-different rock way. Luckily, even the luxury of added brawn couldn't obscure the hunger and desperation at the harrowed core of Red Mouth's blues.

It doesn't take a hidebound hip-hop purist to recognize that, in terms of sheer skill and craft, rap music has retrograded dreadfully. They don't call the old school the "golden age" for nothing. That's why huge ups go to local MC AMiAM for repping Orlando hip-hop right by releasing a seriously legit debut LP (The Combine) and throwing a high-quality release party that also featured the Orlando debut of notable Massachusetts MC Reks (Dec. 1, Peacock Room). Apparently, some people do make it like they used to. And from the looks of this packed house, it's clear that the original, underground shit is alive and well in the Ozone.

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