Rathskeller patrons enjoyed the company of bands Grand Buffet and The Morning Of, as the College Union Board (CUB) sponsored a night touted as a Hip-Hop/Indie Show on April 22.
However, the audience would have an experience that could not be confined to one genre.
After a few minutes of tuning their instruments, it seemed as though The Morning Of was ready to set the night into movement, but as they walked offstage, two men stood up and entered the front. Appearing to be mere roadies, Grand Buffet, the duo of Jackson and Lord Grunge fired up their mics and kick-started some funky beats.
Tossing out the occasional “check” to the sound tech, along with a goofy expression or two, Jackson burst into the first number with a battle cry of “Let’s go, mozzarella sticks.”
After their first jam, the crowd became captivated as the boys rapped into “Millpatty,” a synth-heavy creation owing a large part of its hook to “Head Over Heels” by The Go-Go’s.
With their use of irreverent, yet intelligent song stylings and obscure synthesizers, it was not too big of a stretch to compare these gentlemen to ’80s band Devo. But with a strong awareness for social consciousness and a dense lyrical approach, they were also comparable to Chuck D.
“For our generation, Public Enemy was the new punk,” Jackson said. “I would listen to stuff like ‘Night of the Living Baseheads’ and then I would hear that same hook over in David Bowie’s ‘Fame,’ so from there I would check out who he was referencing. My musical knowledge would spread like that.”
After some impressive spoken-word poetry, Grand Buffet moved on to “Americus,” a song about the institution of sweatshop labor and the beauty of America.
At this point in the performance, the audience was totally engulfed in the analog orchestrations and kung fu acrobatics of the dynamic duo.
Grand Buffet presented a fresh blend of hip-hop that incorporates old-school principles of social advocacy with experimental implementation.
The Morning Of came on for the rest of the night with a set that seemed eerily familiar.
Although they were advertised as an indie act by CUB, their sound was more reminiscent of a golden-era Drive-Thru Records pop-punk band.
“The Sound of Something Secure” was one of their first numbers – a melodic yarn sounding similar to acts like The Hush Sound.
Applauding and clapping, the crowd pushed to the stage and invigorated the young band into a set laden with guitar riffs and simplistic, semi-strong basslines.
What worked for this band – its youthful disposition – may also be its biggest weakness.
While they performed with ease, it appeared that The Morning Of still needed some time to grow.