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Alt Hip-Hop

K.Flay MC Lars Optimus Rhyme

I caught the MC Frontalot show at Cafe du Nord yesterday, in San Francisco, accompanied by (the lovely) Becca and (the incomparable) John. The show was one of the last stops on the Secrets of the Future tour, named after Front’s new album.

Front was great, as always, but I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the rest of the lineup. K.Flay opened, looking for all the world like the girl next door: nice, friendly, casual, and very white. When her DJ dropped the beat, though, she threw down rhymes like nobody’s business. It was unnerving, to say the least. What’s more, she was damn good. She also reps my alma mater, which doesn’t hurt.

“I go to church, try to eat Jeff Probst,
…whoops, looks like I got the wrong host!”
- K.Flay, Cut to the Chase

Optimus Rhyme was next, and they rocked the house. I’d seen them before, at PAX, and they were in fine form on Sunday. The band came together as a group really well, the music was seamless, and their frontman, Wheelie, must have been hopped up on something really potent. His delivery was electric – half Zach de la Rocha, half Killers, all nerdcore.

MC Lars was the second headliner on the tour, along with Front. He comes from Stanford, like K.Flay, and shares her penchant for combining literary references with both highbrow and lowbrow humor. He played with a full band, though, and like Optimus Rhyme, it rocked. In particular, I loved his homages to two Bay Area music genres, Hot Topic is Not Punk Rock and White Kids Aren’t Hyphy.

Too much fun. I’m off to buy Front’s new CD.

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