Aesop Rock, Mr. Lif
Saturday, Nov. 15, 9:30 p.m., $15
Atmosphere, Odd Jobs, Micronauts
Monday, Nov. 17, 9 p.m., $15
Everybody's got problems. Everybody. But some just got bigger ones, ya know? Like this kid from Minneapolis who is getting famous and this other "getting famous" kid from New York who has another problem with people always thinking he is so smart. Well just in case you were in the mood for helping out kids with problems, you're in luck, because they're coming to the Cats Cradle this week!
First up to bat their lashes of woe at 'cha is the over-thinker Aesop Rock. The Boston University grad majored in painting and somewhere up there must have decided that visual arts weren't enough for the un-smart kid. He just had to go and do something else really well and downplay it. So this funky white boy gave rap a chance and excelled. Aesop sold himself in the early days, without a label, and actually got heard. He moved on and got signed to Mush Records, where soon after he became the Definitive Jux aka Def Jux darling. His first album with Def Jux, Labor Days, was an underground hit and soared him into the little heads' hearts. But then life butted its nasty head and Aesop found himself having real problems. Cheaply put, depression. Some folks can pull it off better than others, but there is a certain breaking point in this world filled with twist and turns and people who are so passionate like Aesop will taste the pain and have to work it out. Fortunately, Aesop has had the will and want to get back, to come around and almost as if there wasn't a problem in the first place. His new album, Bazooka Tooth, is proof positive.
After that show rest up for two days and get ready for the next funky white boyz to bless the Hill. Remember that kid from Minneapolis? The one who is getting famous and is a little worried about it? His name is Slug and he is the rapper of Atmosphere. After peddling a good 10,000 unit load in the first week of their last release, God Loves Ugly, Atmosphere should have given the Twins some advice, but instead decided to help secure other artists in the Minneapolis area. Their label Rhymesayers is creeping up on fools with a quickness. Acts like Eyedea & Abilities and that big bad Brother Ali are all parts of the process making Rhymesayers see the light. But certainly producer Ant and that heartbroken, heartthrob of a rapper Slug have paved the road. Their most recent and very solid release Seven's Travels is cruising smoothly down it.
But more importantly, for all you fine ladies in the Triangle area, that funky soulful brother Slug will be all yours on Monday and backing him up on the onezs and twozs without a doubt one of the most important DJs in the Mid-west, Mr. Dibbs. The tenacious, the tremendous Mr. Dibbs is one of the founders of Cincinnati's Scribble Jam (that's jam to you, fest to me). Scribble Jam is one of the illest, rawest hip-hop weekend gatherings in the U.S. Like his jam, the big man is one of the illest and rawest DJs and should put on a great show, which is just one more reason to get out on Monday. It's gonna be a perfect way to start the week.
Ya know, when it rains it pours. Doesn't it always seem like hip-hop shows in the Triangle come in clumps? Well be thankful for the gangsta lean and thank your hard working promoter BumRush on your way out. Go solve these kids' problems!--K8 Erwin
The Six String Cafe
Thursday, Nov. 13, 7 p.m., 9 p.m., $5
A sudden rise to fame hasn't affected the ego of 24-year-old singer and songwriter Vienna Teng. The San Francisco-based artist will perform a pair of intimate shows for those who enjoy their music up close and personal, as she promotes her debut album, Waking Hour. Teng, who sounds at times like a raw, less polished Sarah McLachlan, croons piano ballads perfect for a small venue, and worthy of a second listen. --Natalie Harry
Kate Campbell, UMD Benefit Concert
St. Philip's Episcopal Church
Friday, Nov. 14
$15 adults, $8 age 6-12, free 5 & under
The daughter of a Baptist preacher, Kate Campbell grew up in Sledge, Mississippi--and there's no doubting she has her roots deep in the South. Campbell's lucid storytelling has been compared with the writings of Flannery O'Connor, and her music compared to the likes of Emmylou Harris and Lucinda Williams. Campbell is now touring to promote her newly released album, Twang on a Wire. For more information, contact 682-5708. --Natalie Harry
Galactic, Benevento and Russo Duo
Wednesday, Nov. 12, 9 p.m., $25
For years, Galactic dreamt of setting up shop in the heart of hometown New Orleans, locking themselves in a room with a producer and recording until they could walk away with the music in their heads. And, finally, they've done it. Ruckus redefines this "jam band" as one of the preeminent funk explosions around, by way of 13 tight tracks clocking in at just over 40 minutes. The influence of Amon Tobin and Cut Chemist meets head-on with the way old-school skin work of Stanton Moore and the horn-built propulsion of new funk/jazz hero Stanton Moore. One of the best things you'll ever see on a stage. --Grayson Currin
Sunday, Nov. 16, 9:15 p.m., $10 advance
Birmingham, England trio Broadcast have been compared to compatriots Stereolab for years, as they share the same motorik grooves and ethereal vocals, and while definitely influenced by their contemporaries, they're more than just coattail riders. Their most recent release, Haha Sound (Warp Records), combines '60s mod organ/drum sounds with a smattering of electronic glitch noises, all tied together with vocal delivery that would make Serge Gainsbourg proud. Tourmates Manitoba are the brainchild of one Dan Snaith, who pioneers a similar brand of Neu!-style repetition and dreamy singing on his new record Up in Flames (Leaf). For the tour he'll be utilizing two drummers, tons of stuff with wires attached to it, and a film projector providing a psychedelic backdrop for the set. For more info, 967-9053. --Finn Cohen