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Saturday, October 20

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« "Hiphop is in the building." "Please Allow Me To Introduce Myself..." »

Concert Tue Sep 25 2007

All the Ladies in the House ... An Estrojam Review

Silly me: I thought crotch-grabbing was a hip-hop move relegated only to the male contingent. I was proved wrong time and time again as the performers of Friday night's girl-centric Estrojam installment at the Abbey Pub grabbed said crotches, got sweaty and shirtless, and owned the stage as much any man.

Friday's set was mainly made up of hip-hop artists, topped with a swan song performance by legendary group ESG. While overall the night was full of energy emanating both from the audience as well as on stage, at times the microphones were plagued by squealy sound problems. Kicking things off was Chicago's own chemist-slash-rapper, Psalm One, who slyly beckoned the audience, "Come closer -- I'm gonna tell you secrets." The low, funky triplets of "Macaroni and Cheese" got the audience riled, while the hot-hipped "Beat the Drum" sealed the deal.

Psalm One's laid-back flow paved the way nicely for Bahamadia, whose tight set proved the Philly-based MC deserves a major comeback. Where her work in the '90s generally saw her as the kind of relaxed rhymer whose vocals made her an excellent guest on tracks by The Roots, Erykah Badu, Morcheeba, and Talib Kweli, this night saw a different side of Bahamadia. She delivered classics and newer tracks with a hard, rapid delivery, while her cohort, DJ Statik, kept up with her every step of the way. As he slowed down the pace, playing tracks by other classic b-girls like MC Lyte, Monie Love, and Rah Digga, Bahamadia just laughed: "Aw, man. This is senior hip-hop, right here."

By the time the dirrrty South's Yo Majesty hit the stage, the crowd's excitement was palpable: what to expect from one of the year's most buzzed-about hip-hop groups? Wild dance beats and wild dance parties were certainly on the roster, events that often culminate in at least one of the members -- who, to be honest, do not look unlike Lil' Wayne -- taking off her shirt. And while yes, this event did indeed take place, it's almost expected of them -- and should going to a Yo Majesty show become a Countdown to Breasts? Anyway, it only lasted about 10 minutes before the (wo-)Man came down on the shirtless hullaballoo. But you get the point: YM put on a super fun live show as-is, nipple or no.

The evening's star performers, ESG, earned their stripes during the '70s as their beat-heavy blend of funk, soul, and rock, which made them one of the most sampled bands to date. The night marked their last performance as a group, and the music geeks crawled out of the woodwork to witness it. Originally a quartet of sisters based out of the South Bronx, the latest incarnation includes original vocalist Renee Scroggins and what apparently is her daughter, Christelle, on guitar and percussion and niece, Nicole, on bass, while an unnamed fellow acted as drummer.

And you know what? The ESG groove is a good one. Their old hits are still fun and funky, and it's obvious that Renee was having a great time onstage. But it's also obvious the band is at its end, as the music was basically being held up by Renee's vocals and the Unknown Drummer's tight drum work. The rest was sort of a rudimentary mess, a weird funk circus, as Christelle got caught up in showboating. It certainly made for some interesting entertainment, but as she did a sexed-up tambourine act, one couldn't help but wonder if ESG should've simply stuck to what they've always done best: bring on the sweet, jam-worthy beats.

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »


  Chicago Music Media

Alarm Magazine
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Boxx Magazine
Brooklyn Vegan Chicago
Can You See The Sunset From The Southside
Chicago Reader Music
Chicagoist Arts & Events
Chicago Music Guide
Chicago Singles Club
Country Music Chicago
Cream Team
Dark Jive
The Deli Chicago
Jim DeRogatis
Fake Shore Drive
Gowhere Hip Hop
The Hood Internet
Jaded in Chicago
Largehearted Boy
Little White Earbuds
Live Fix Blog
Live Music Blog
Loud Loop Press
Oh My Rockness
Pop 'stache
Pop Matters
Resident Advisor
Sound Opinions
Sun-Times Music Blog
Theft Liable to Prosecution
Tribune Music
UR Chicago
Victim Of Time
WFMU's Beware of the Blog
Windy City Rock


Abbey Pub
Andy's Jazz Club
Aragon Ballroom
Auditorium Theatre
Beat Kitchen
Bottom Lounge
Buddy Guy's Legends
The Burlington
California Clipper
Concord Music Hall
Congress Theater
Cubby Bear
Double Door
Elbo Room
Empty Bottle
Green Mill
The Hideout
Honky Tonk BBQ
House of Blues
Kingston Mines
Lincoln Hall
Logan Square Auditorium
Mayne Stage
The Mutiny
Old Town School of Folk Music
Park West
The Promontory
Red Line Tap
Reggie's Rock Club & Music Joint
The Riviera
Thalia Hall
The Shrine
Symphony Center
Tonic Room
Uncommon Ground
The Vic
The Whistler

  Labels, Promoters
  & Shops:

Alligator Records
Beverly Records
Bloodshot Records
Dave's Records
Delmark Records
Drag City
Dusty Groove
Flameshovel Records
Groove Distribution
He Who Corrupts
Jam Productions
Jazz Record Mart
Kranky Records
Laurie's Planet of Sound
Minty Fresh
Numero Group
mP Shows
Permanent Records
Reckless Records
Smog Veil Records
Southport & Northport Records
Thick Records
Thrill Jockey Records Touch & Go/Quarterstick Records
Victory Records

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Transmission is the music section of Gapers Block. It aims to highlight Chicago music in its many varied forms, as well as cover touring acts performing in the city. More...
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