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Concert Fri Oct 26 2007

Review: Evidence and Little Brother @ Abbey Pub

“Oh, woe is me. I have no label. My fans love me, but my label won’t promote my new album.”

Sound like the latest indie-rock darling with pop sensibilities? Well, believe it or not, veteran hip-hop artists have that too. And a few of them showed up at the Abbey Pub last night.

Lasting three and a half hours, a packed Abbey Pub was treated to a rollicking show. The crowd reacted warmly to the two opening acts, both local artists with a ton of energy and sporadic DAT problems. Members of The Away Team, part of the Hall of Justus conglomerate which includes Little Brother, took to the stage before giving way to Evidence. In between sets, the DJ would spin classic hip-hop, enough to keep the crowd warmed up and loud.

Evidence, one-third of Dilated Peoples, embarked on a solo career earlier this year with The Weatherman LP. Dilated’s had more commercial success - their single “This Way”, produced by Kanye West, garnered them the most attention - but their credibility lies in the fact that they largely did things themselves and, to Capitol’s relief, within their extended family of other artists and producers. Read: cheaply. Last night, Evidence performed a few songs off his solo effort, including the single "Mr Slow Flow", as well as his parts off of Dilated hits like “This Way” and “Back Again”.

Little Brother performed a few tracks from Getback, as well as “Lovin It” from 2005’s The Minstrel Show. Big Pooh and Phonte gave the old fans “For You” from their first label release The Listening, which was a nice surprise. Interspersed throughout the performance was a lot of banter about misogyny, current events, and an age check call and response that quite plainly revealed that quite a few of their fans aren’t the college-age kids, but 25- and even 30-year olds. It was clear that they enjoyed giving a show, and the crowd enjoyed them for it.

Little Brother couldn’t be more thrilled to be off a major label. Atlantic Records really didn’t know what to do with them, since they don’t do the gangsta thing, and are a bit too brash for the “conscious rapper” tags that seem to folow anyone who doesn’t actively talk of shooting people and dealing drugs on recordings. So, after three albums, they were released from their deal just last Tuesday and are free to do their own thing.

At the show, Phonte made allusions to the fact that LB has made the music readily available (their latest effort, Getback, released Tuesday, can be streamed in its entirety from their Myspace page) because it serves to get the word out and gets people out to their live shows. It seems to be the best option for groups that put out good music, but can’t (for reasons of label stupidity, apathy, or confusion) garner popular attention through the traditional media outlets, such as a Clear-Channeled radio station or Viacommed BET. Word-of-mouth can only go so far, but both Little Brother and Evidence seem to believe that it’s better than having an album of work sit in some label’s vault because there’s no “sure-shot single,” a damning condition in the rap world where the lack of a poppy, dance-friendly track usually (but not always) leads to very ineffectual promotion.

While the tide is seeming to turn away from artists wanting the fantasy of the big label deal and all that implies, the hip-hop audience is right along with the rest of the music-loving populace with a hunger for good music and the failure of the traditional label-driven model in getting them said music. Last night, as Phonte noted, music can be recieved from all over, but they haven't figured a way to digitize a live show experience. "When they do, I'm going right over to [black-themed porn site]," he laughed.

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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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