Event Recap: Showtime at The Rex w/Joe Budden
“Sunglasses & Advil…. last night was mad real” not at all hung over though! Man last night was an evening to remember & forget all at the same damn time. I was invited (or begged my way into) last night’s show at the Rex Theater by Grind Mode Management. For those who weren’t aware (and if you’re reading this there is no reason why you would be unaware) Grind Mode brought Joe Budden to the 412. This was originally supposed to happen back in June/July in Westmoreland County? Maybe Fayette County?? Basically somewhere NOT close put it that way. That show was more of a “Summer Jam” or music festival type of event. I actually think it was named “Whatever County Summer Jam”, I digress. The format of that show was clearly different as it was an all day out doors sort of thing. Well that idea was scrapped because the headliner Joe Budden broke his foot in May/June. I’ll be the first to admit when I got that text from Dion I was crushed. I missed Joe in Harrisburg, and Johnstown over the last few years & it felt like that had just happened again. Thankfully Dion was able to reschedule (with some encouragement from me). So to go from having a full day event to one what was just a regular show night is tough when you booked enough acts for 12 hours & have to condense them into 3 or 4. The show which was slated to have 12 opening acts. I can see why some folks would be turned off by that but I also understand why it had to be that way & much respect to the Grind Mode Management team for honoring those opening acts & letting them all rock. I caught the performances by: Cook Da Monster, Skeez, Black J, Zooka, Scoot Hix, Grimey Click, Dotto, The 58s, & BoaZ. I may have missed some sets, I know I walked in right as Jordan York was getting off stage.
Honestly I doubt I’ll ever grasp this city’s fans. I’ve been at a show with 15+ local acts and it was filled damn near to capacity (King Of The Burgh). On the flip side, there are shows with major artists on the bill, the show is well promoted and folks don’t come out. On separate nights I’ve been at events where B.White, Zooka, & Boaz have been the headliner & the place was packed. I don’t get why in those settings a show like this doesn’t bring the city out. I saw a few tweets & IG comments even a few Facebook posts saying ‘I didn’t even know Joe was coming”…. How? the DJ was Mike Jax he’s on the radio every day, you’re friends with me on Fb I’ve been talking about the show for weeks. You follow Boaz or B.White on Twitter or IG but somehow you didn’t know? Its 2015 we can’t keep using that excuse UNLESS its legit. The only way it’s legit is if it was poorly promoted that isn’t the case here.
More important that all of that some of the evening’s highlights were the sets by Cook, Scoot Hix, Zooka The 58s & Boaz. Anytime I see Scoot Hix or The 58s perform I need to hear “P.O.R.T.”, “I Apologize In Advance”, “Lets Go” & “Hardwood Classic”…. I was 3/4 & from what B.White told me them not performing “Hardwood Classic” was my fault lol. I felt it was dope that Scoot mentioned Mike Vick last night with all that’s been said about him since he signed with the Steelers. It was like seeing FB posts come to life. It would have been dope to see B.White & Boaz perform that “The Money” Remix as well one can dream no? I always enjoyed the consistency I get from seeing Zooka & Grimey Click perform. One comes to expect confidence & energy from Grimey Click & a ton of confidence, pride & bars from Zooka. If you know me you’re well aware my middle name is “Slacker”, being a fan of Boaz for years & last night was the first time I recall seeing him live. You can tell he’s graced this is nothing new to him, there’s a certain level of professionalism you reach after hitting so many stages all around the country. The vibe you bring, the way in which you perform, the delivery is just better & its noticeable. It’s wild to see a dude I used to freestyle with in Computer Apps class growing into this phenomenal rap talent. I get that same feeling every time I see Real Deal perform. Crazy to see a somewhat subdued crowd come to life for The 58s & Boaz. Someone flipped a switch once B.White, Tom Doug & Mayo hit the stage. A good opening act sets the tone for the headliner, they are supposed to have the crowd “Warmed Up” and after back to back sets by The 58s & Boaz the Rex was on fire (or “LIT” as the kids say). Joe Budden’s DJ for the evening Austin Millz came through with a very impressive mix while we impatiently waited for the Mood Gawd to take the stage.
It is very, VERY rare that you will see me exit my reserved demeanor & enter full fledge “Fan Mode”. I expected it to happen during Joe’s set but I was already there after Boaz & The 58s! When Joe finally hit the stage it was everything a fan could ask for. One of the benefits of the city for the most part opting to stay home or at the very least avoid this show was I was able to get right up against the stage. For the next 30+ minutes I was just in awe, song after song bar after bar I really was only reminded that I wasn’t in my house with the music on blast zoning out when Joe had to stop & address the Sound man. Beyond that I completely locked in, I can now check off seeing my favorite rapper ever off my bucket list. I wasn’t expecting Joe who brought along the talented Emanny as his hype man to perform a few songs that he did. “Pump It Up”, & his verse over Rhianna’s “Russian Roulette” come to mind, he killed them both. Damn near lost my mind when he did “OLS3” though, that was the point when I knew I wouldn’t be able to talk the next day. The evening closed with “Only Human” a song that has brought me to tears on more than one occasion, I thought ahead of time that if they did perform it that I would cry, I didn’t thankfully but others around me did. You’ll see in some of my videos well hear me destroying the vocals to it but there is not a care I can offer you. Overall Grind Mode all things to be considered Grind Mode put together a great show. The level of professionalism in which that show was run was very noticeable. “A cut above the rest” as my old heads would say. So salute to that entire team I always feel the love when I’m around them. Next up for Grind Mode Management is Showtime at The Rex Featuring Lil Herb get details: www.facebook.com/events/166151490385565. But before that come check out “Pittsburgh On The Rise II” Charity event powered by Picking The Brain Podcast & Brainofbmw.com 9/25 at Hollywood lanes. Get more info by going: www.facebook.com/events/950949681594307/
One last thing I have to address and I’m sure I address it every time I write a recap for an event that takes place at the Rex. Why the hell is the sound always so trash? There may have been 1 show in the last 2-3 years where there were little to no sound/mix issues. It could be contributed to many artists NOT doing sound checks, it could be many aren’t very good at performing live & not screaming, it could also be that The Rex & whoever owns it are too cheap to upgrade the sound system. In 2015 how do you NOT have wireless mics? That is the one thing that continues to be an issue. I don’t care how long the wires are in this day and age there is little to no reason for it. I want to encourage all promoters to invest in wireless mics. You do run the risk of losing them hell I lost one at the Smiling Moose a few years ago. The point is a higher quality mic one that is wireless makes for a much better show. It gives the artist the freedom to move around without limits which makes way for a more energetic performance. Being concerned about possibly tripping over the wires can take away from the overall show. It goes deeper than the mics as well, the sound system itself at the Rex is trash. Maybe that’s just a hip hop thing I’ll have to make my way to a non hip hop event to find out. But in all seriousness, for as much $ as the Rex is pulling in off the drinks alone they should be able to upgrade that system. Beyond that, last night was mad real….