All words: Finch Fulton — All photos: Nick Balleza
Relatively unheralded acts Capital Cities and Magic Man tore up the U Street Music Hall Thursday night while mashup stallwarts The Hood Internet failed to reach the high expectations they’ve built for themselves.
To begin with those who earned the top spot in this *highly important* review: Capital Cities were terrific. The Los Angeles based group, which is currently on a cross-Atlantic tour, has the strength to be headliners, and I would expect them to soon be leading their own tickets. With songs like Safe and Sound they mirror MGMT (admittedly a little too closely for comfort), while at other times their sound drifts into a pleasant 80’s feel with a little bit of finger-lickin funk tossed in that makes you feel like you’re listening to the radio while cruising Vice City in Grand Theft Auto.
I must admit that I didn’t get there in time for Magic Man but they received high reviews from temporarily deputized on-scene BYT contributors. The post-show laptop review further validates the review. Simply put, the opening shows outdid The Hood Internet in live value.
Back to The Hood Internet: I listened to the material they provide on their website before going in and I enjoyed the hell out of it. The songs are smooth and fun. They are masters of their craft, and while they didn’t bring it all at U Hall, perhaps their most accessible work is Dead Prez vs Grizzly Bear – Two Weeks Of Hip Hop. In contrast to other mash-up artists, they typically only mix 2 songs together at the time, with great results. I danced in my chair, twitched my legs, and found myself pumping my shoulders in a fashion I’m *sure* Michael Jackson invented.
Live, however, it became noticeable that there is no great building of anticipation or mounting tension and therefore no great release. Nothing was different from the laptop preview. I don’t necessarily mean that they didn’t introduce new things, I mean that there wasn’t really anything novel or slightly different about the exhibition. Here. Click here. This is most, if not all, of the show. This is what people heard. You could be been back at home, listening on your headphones, and the sound wouldn’t suffer. Ultimately though, you go to a Hood Internet show to dance, twitch and sweat.
Unfortunately, they didn’t fully utilize the heady sound system and boisterous acoustics afforded by the U Street Music Hall which are aimed at pumping out soul shaking sound levels — it wasn’t really all that loud. Also, their mashup library is so fresh and so deep that not many people were caught up, and so couldn’t fully share in the experience. This seemed to be widely reflected in the crowd which dwindled as the show went on, and not just because of the hour. I’m not asking for the song recognition of an 80’s cover band, and I do appreciate hearing new things and expanding my mental musical catalogue, but there may need to be a shift in the balance.
All this being said, it was still very solid music and a good show. The Hood Internet remain premier mashup artists who are worth your listening time. For the price of admission ($12) they were worth seeing too. But the show was not great, it featured no transcendent moments and wasn’t worth getting worked up about.
- The Hood Internet
- Capital Cities
- Magic Man