by Todd Hamm
on Fri, Jan 24, 2014 at 3:28 PM
Hemsworth keeping the party going (photo by me)
Neumos was filling up when I arrived. Local #basedworld producer Keyboard Kid was busy building some masterful cloud rap instrumental on stage, and a gang of attentive beatheads were nodding heavy in the front row. Mad Rad's DJ Darwin, who had accompanied Kid on stage the last few times I'd seen him play, was absent this time, but Kid seemed confident flying solo, and cued up some down right amazing shit.
The sub-21 (or at least non-drinking) demographic had taken full advantage of the show's all-ages status, and filled the floor front-to-back. The booze balcony upstairs was also a few rows deep, and in a lively mood. Canadian headliner Ryan Hemsworth started punctually (before 11pm!) and set off a non-stop mix of beats and remixed numbers, pausing every 20 or 30 minutes to ask how we were doing. Hemsworth glided casually between a laptop and a few effects pads/knob stations, dancing, but not making too big of a show of it (though he was pretty darn animated about toweling the sweat off his brow). Though not incredibly impressive visually, Hemsworth's performance was extremely well-thought out musically. He shifted moods, never sticking too long on any one track, and hit the crowd hard with some pop-remixes and chopped, yet recognizable hooks toward the end, when they needed a boost. He kept the party going strong, blending some Danny Brown right into an Awolnation remix, and I'm pretty sure I heard a couple distorted Rick Ross lines.
At one point, he dropped a mix of Mr. Muthafuckin' eXquire's "Illest Ni**az Breathin'," (probably this one), and it felt a little weird. When the chorus ("I woke up this mornin', feelin' like that ni**a") looped around a bunch of times, it briefly made me think of this infamous moment in local beat history, but aside from a couple puzzled looks, the crowd didn't miss a beat. The drinking crowd in the upstairs bar area had thinned considerably by this point, but the young'uns downstairs were still going strong after midnight. The kids certainly loved what they were hearing.