For reasons that are either all too obvious or completely indiscernible, hip-hop is geared less toward performance and more toward recording. I mean, a guy standing onstage with a microphone and a laptop? There’s not much there there, y’know? Now I realize that most hip-hop artists these days are backed by full bands –– to achieve that all-important and oft-elusive quality of authenticity –– but since the artform boils down to simple beats and rhymes, a band comes to seem superfluous, making performance almost superfluous.
Rapper Patrick “P.A.T.” Barnett doesn’t have a band, and he has never performed a show in North Texas. A twentysomething Air Force brat born in Germany who relocated to Fort Worth with his family when he was a kid, Barnett also just got out of the Air Force. “I don’t have many connections here,” he said. “I’m a bit out of touch.”
But like Nice Major, another stranger in his own land, Barnett recently put out a splendid album. Recorded with DJs Kushgod and Wats in Wichita, Kan., and at Kammb Studios in Euless, Where the Sidewalk Ends is a heady, long collection of urban noir tracks that sounds like a million bucks (though, of course, it was done on a budget). There’s some solid beatsmithery and great melodic flourishes courtesy of synth woodwinds, keys, and horns, and Barnett has solid flow. Amazingly, and thankfully, he keeps the cursing to a minimum, and he avoids the N-word altogether. (Not that I’m some goodie-goodie, but cussing loses its impact when it’s overdone, and there are often better, more colorful, more precise words to use instead.)
Like Nice Major’s The Do You Believe Project, Where the Sidewalk Ends –– inspired by the Shel Silverstein children’s book of the same name –– overflows with that gritty, semi-jazzy flavor popularized by Kanye West. Barnett has a couple of shows coming up: in San Diego and Las Vegas, of course.
Shows of Ever-Increasing Significance
The Grotto (517 University Dr., 817-882-9331) is the place to be this weekend. The week there got off to a good start on Monday, when The Matthew Show (in duo form) kicked off Jody Jones’ weekly songwriter showcase. Main man Matthew Broyles, on lead vocals and rhythm guitar and accompanied by Ed Rogers on lead guitar and backing vocals, crooned some beautiful, ’70s-glam-folk originals to an attentive crowd of about 15. Good job, fellas. The big Grotto shows will be Friday and Saturday. And they’re going to be loud. Texas Music purveyor Dim Locator (a.k.a. Will Kapinos), Lubbock shit-kickers The Beaumonts, and Austin twang-rockers Hickoids will open up for Haltom City’s finest, The Me-Thinks, on Friday. On Saturday, Fort Worth humor-punks One Fingered Fist, some outfit called TCB, and Nirvana-esque Fort Worth rockers Homebrew are playing.
And speaking of fine singer-songwriters, some of the finest in town will gather at Lola’s Saloon (2736 W. 6th St., 817-877-0666) on Friday night to celebrate Bob Dylan’s birthday. Event organizer Scott Copeland, Quaker City Night Hawks’ Sam Anderson and Dave Matsler, Thomas Flynn, Carey Wolff, Big Mike Richardson, Derek Larson, Jake Robison, and Ben Napier will pay homage to the legendary folk singer-songwriter by performing his songs –– Copeland guarantees you won’t hear the same song twice. Cover is $10.
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