Photo by Amber Schadewald
Eyedea sure has a lot of, uh, ideas. The rapper, alongside his other half, DJ Abilities, took on the small stage at Intermedia Arts Saturday evening and gave a room of lucky, guest-list only, fans a chance to hear the duo's new album in full nearly a month before its upcoming release. From philosophy to gun control, legendary MC Eyedea explained in full detail the wonders that challenge his complex mind, sometimes explaining the story behind tracks and other times preaching full on monologues of theory. The incredibly intimate performance was semi-awkward and semi-incredible, swaying either way depending on fan level.
The evening opened with a brief history of the rap duo, once known as Sixth Sense, comprised of two exremely talented musicians. Eyedea started out as a b-boy, and then turned into an all-star battle rapper. Abilities first concentrated on drawing, and then couldn't resist the instant gratification of mastering the turntables.
Eyedea and Abilities new album, By The Throat, is the band's first collaborative work since 2004. This album is full of short, rough tracks, harsh vocals and lots of heavy rock influences, an audible compilation of their past five years of personal endeavors. This album also features live instrumentation; a first for E&A.
Artist and musican Michael Gaughan sat at a table stage right during the performance, painting an orginal piece for a lucky raffle winner at the end of the show. Gaughan also played guitar on the new album and is apparently one of Eyedea's favorite people in the world. Not to mention the man behind the new album's artwork.
<b>Photos by B Fresh Photography, <a href="http://www.citypages.com/slideshow/view/15924514">click here for slideshow</a><i>.</i></b>
The guys started out the show with a disclaimer: "This is strange, but we will make it good," Abilties said. "You will make it good," Eyedea responded. "I will just make it more awkward."
In between songs Eyedea gave extended summaries of his lyrics, giving insight to the speed-of-light vocals that can be a little hard to decifer. "Spin Cycle" is an ode to high school mentalities and suedo-friendships adults still foster. "Junk" refers to the rap duo's disgust with America's obsession with celebrities and reality TV.
Eyedea gave an especially in-depth analysis of "Smile" during which I caught Abilties grooving to some tunes in his headphones and taking a pull or two from the whisky bottle. Later during the performance, Abilties just cut Eyedea's rambling off by kicking up the beat, forcing him to wrap it up before the song started.
On "This Story" Abilities uses his favorite new toy; a turntable combined with piano-like features. The song is wicked cool for a multitude of reasons, but mostly due to the strategic manipulation of pitches into a digital solo of sorts. "This Story" is currently available on Myspace but its glory isn't completely appreciated until you see this DJs hands doing the work.