Words by DJ Tara
Starting off the night was Tondrae Kemp, who brought some Louisiana funk and blues to the stage. The crowd quickly warmed to his soulful voice, lively band, and songs about love, heartbreak, and everything in between. He gripped the crowd with his version of the Isley Brothers‘ “Footsteps in the Dark (Parts 1&2)” which led nicely into an Ice Cube sing-along of “It Was a Good Day.” Hip hop wasn’t the only unique influence in Kemp’s set: there were hints of reggae and New Orleans Jazz throughout, making for a lively time.
DJ Jon Oliver of I Love Vinyl and East Village Radio kept the crowd buzzing between acts.
Next up was NYC based electronic duo ASTR. Classifying themselves as “Noisemakers,” the duo pairs strong vocals from Zoe with instrumentation from Adam to create a music scape that captures popular trap with some familiar house synths and nu-disco beats. They too performed a surprising cover of Drake‘s “Just Hold On We’re Going Home.” Though they played a modest sized set, the crowd was left more than satisfied.
Another quick set by Jon Oliver lead perfectly to the man of the night, Los Angeles’ own Thundercat. Starting off his set with “Daylight,” Thundercat explored every boundary of the song, as it were a never ending composition instead of an album cut. He continued this exploration with “Is It Love,” which included a surprise performance on keys by Robert Glasper, and “Seasons,” where none other than Bilal was the featured vocalist. Despite the guest appearances, Thundercat himself had the crowd riveted with his bass stylings and vocals throughout the night. “Heartbreaks and Setbacks,” “Tron Song” and “Walking” were clear crowd favorites. He ended the night with “Lotus and the Jondy,” which left the crowd wanting for one more song; Thundercat delivered in his encore jam with “Oh Sheit It’s X.”
Last night’s RBSS showcase was a great night of innovative and diverse sounds that succeeded brilliantly in satisfying all musical tastes.