This event could be best summarized as being super artsy, except without all the pretentiousness artsy events seem to always have. The event took place at the Java Express in Moose Jaw. It had a small, quaint atmosphere that seemed really appropriate to have an art exhibition in. I also enjoyed the fact that it was in downtown Moose Jaw, I think Moose Jaw has a nice scene there and should be known for more than Al Capone eating breakfast there one time. The paintings on display by Ariel Feindel, Annerre Nedilenka, and Nicole Araneda (who wrote “Milk” in cholo-graffiti font on my arm for whatever reason) were all unique and spectacular works. They seemed like something I would have in my guest and living rooms if I were an eccentric millionaire, but because I am neither eccentric nor a millionaire I did not buy a painting for myself.
The first act to go on was Merv Gotti, who entertained with some acoustic pop. For the first couple songs Merv strung along with another performer called Jumbo Shrimp (who presumably borrowed his name from the greatest blogger of all time). Afterwards, a rapper by the name of Ajeah (who has performed with Skillaboo and Rubix Music) came on to add some hip hop flavor to Merv’s acoustic stylings. Ajeah’s raps were much like his biceps, that is to say, they were solid and very impressive. He and Merv did both written and freestyle which were both easy on the ear, Ajeah’s hip hop attacks seemed to mold nicely with Merv’s softer melodic bits.
Merv Gotti ft. Ajeah and Jumbo Shrimp’s Beard Power Rating®: 0/3
The next group that went on after a brief intermission was a rap group called Cause and Effect (no, not that Cause and Effect). I have to say, the main thing these guys have going for them is energy. That is not to say that their rapping and beats were not solid, because they certainly were, it is just that this group had so much aggression and raw energy it got the entire place moving in no time. It almost seemed out place considering the coffee shop environment and the act that came before, but since the crowd was so engrossed by the trio that these factors did not seem to matter. I believe most of the energy these guys had was brought mostly by the group’s dual rapping set-up; one guy raps while the other rests, then they switch. This resulted in the crowd being treated to a solid 45 minutes of straight rap with no breaks and no mercy.
Cause and Effect’s Beard Power Rating®: 1.0/3.0
After a second intermission, Descalso was up. I have reviewed Descalso before for their CD release party, and this set was quite similar to that one. What really impressed me about this set is the amount of dancing and energy in the crowd that Descalso caused for such a small venue. A full on dance party was formed in an environment that seemed more suited to sit down with a Mac, sip on a tall latte, and try to stop Joseph Kony via the blogosphere. That being said, Descalso did slow things down when guitarist Paul Lucyk’s sister, Amaya, joined Descalso to do vocals. As usual, Descalso closed with their jam song, “You Ain’t My Bitch”, in which they invited the Cause and Effect guys up to jam with them. For me personally, watching bands jam is a lot like watching people play video games or have sex, I can only watch and listen for so long before I get bored and want to get involved or leave. That being said, Descalso finds a good balance between jamming and keeping the song consistent. I never feel the grey, dull feeling of repetition despite the fact I’ve heard the song several times.
Descalso Beard Power Rating®: 1.7/3.0 (pass!)
Next time we hit up Java Express, we will have to ask to get paid for being bouncers at the place, because apparently a combination of our girth, Jumbo Shrimp's backwards hat, our red t-shirts, and the fact that we were standing near the door with our arms folded for most of the night, had people thinking we were working there trying to keep people in/out. And we will be back. And we are not afraid to lay a smack down on people who are actin' the foo'. Just kidding. But seriously.
Jumbo Shrimp ft. The Leatherman
Note: For those with butts that are easily hurt, The Hang Loose Reviews Official Beard Power Rating is NOT a reflection of the talent or performance of the band in any way, just a measure of their facial hair growing capabilities/desire.