Photo by Gabe Meier
For The Astal Plane’s second live review, we’re stepping our game up a little bit. Unlike our last review, we managed to bring a camera (fully charged!) and got some nice shots. Last time it was Tokimonsta’s b-day set at Low End Theory. This time, we caught Jonwayne and Main Attrakionz at Pomona College. Like last time, we hit a few bumps in the road though. We planned on doing a video interview with Mondre and Squadda B of Main Attrakionz, and in fact, we did interview the Oakland “cloud rap” duo. We also forgot to turn on the mic. As a result, instead of a five minute interview with Mondre and Squadda, we have five silent minutes of me looking awkward and them looking inebriated. In fact, it was actually a pretty decent interview covering topics ranging from how they met Clams Casino (through Keyboard Kid), coining the term “cloud rap,” and wanting to create their own legacy among Bay Area legends. Mondre and Squadda were more than willing to do the interview and were amiable throughout it. Read the rest of the review after the jump and check out photos from the show here.
Jonwayne opened the festivities in front of a small, intimate crowd of around 50 people. Donning birkenstocks, basketball shorts and a windbreaker, Wayne took to his handy SP-404 and went to town. I’ve seen Jonwayne perform in front of wildly differing sized crowds, from the Eagle Rock Music Festival (around 10,000 people) to Low End Theory (around 100), and he changes his set drastically. Wayne experimented with the 404, avoiding originals (I was a little miffed he didn’t play “My Chain”) and mixing and altering some Southern rap classics. The highlight was his rendition of Mike Jones’s eponymous “Still Tippin,” which eventually devolved into a mesmerizing chant of “gamecube, nintendo.” From there we got a little Gucci, a little more 404 experimentation, and the birkenstock-clad Wayne was promptly out. Not his best set, but in front of a less than enthusiastic crowd, he did his part.
Soon after Wayne finished, Mondre, Squadda and fellow Oakland native Shadow Blaze took the stage. At this point the crowd had grown a little bit, but it was still fairly unmotivated. To put it lightly, Pomona doesn’t exactly embrace hip hop. The duo quickly delved into classics like “Perfect Skies” and “Take 1” and within five minutes, Mondre’s shirt was off. It is often hard to judge a hip hop show in a weird venue, in this case, the basement of the student center at a small liberal arts college, but the duo truly did try and bring the fun. Main Attrakionz don’t necessarily make party anthems, but their tracks have the weight and energy, and the beats have that extra oomph, to translate well to a live performance. This wasn’t the most memorable performance, but I’m going to chalk this one up to a strange crowd, and a weirder venue.