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This Little Underground: Moonshine Bandits are an abyss of taste

Hick-hop showcase, Country Gone Wild Tour and Firestone Live

Photo: Photo by Christopher Garcia, License: N/A

Photo by Christopher Garcia


Because Firestone Live shifted its emphasis away from concerts and back to its dance-club roots, it’s been awhile since I’ve been here. But there have been renovations and, in live show terms, they’re upgrades. Gone is the oddly high shadow-box stage. The new, lower, more open stage gives the audience closer action and superior sightlines. The place looks great, and it’s a better live-music setup than perhaps ever before. The only thing that needs to happen now is increased and better concert programming. Whether that happens is a big question mark because of the club’s focus. But even though not many big national live acts come through there anymore, one thing that does happen there is a relatively new, semi-regular local concert series. Given the venue’s improved show-viewing conditions, it may be worth your while to watch Firestone’s calendar.

But seriously, though, enough kidding around. Back to some real hip-hop with Dope Operatic (May 22, Peacock Room), a monthly showcase centered on the actual roots and art of hip-hop. The series, two years running now, always features a full, revolving cast. But regardless of who performs on any given edition, the most likely reason it’s kept its roll is the ability of the hosts to hold it down. Resident DJs Cub and Chrono keep the night connected and the vibe nonstop with a deep music arsenal. And host D II, the electric frontman of live rap band Deaf 2 the Industry, is unsurprisingly charged as a lone MC. With a busy, complex cadence and alternative angle, he’s more pure hip-hop poet than typical rap rooster. Anchors like these are what make Dope Operatic an up-close, engaging and inclusive gathering that’s worth following.

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