Two metal bands, three local rap collectives, a punk rock agitator, a hip-hop legend, and the leading proponents of crunkcore: The Rock sure knows how to put a schizophrenic show together.
Locals Await Thy Hero's intense metalcore offered pure visceral thrills to the converted, and probably sounded like white noise to others. Prog-metal group Blueshift Odyssey have loftier ambitions: more intricate musicianship and song structures. While admirable in their intentions, too many guitar and drum lessons can suck the power out of music that's very nature is to shake your foundations. But they dedicated a song to Syd Barrett, indicating there's more depth underneath the clicking double bass drums and shrieking vocals that currently define their sound.
The local rap collectives—Johnny Redd, The Other Guys, and Jake and J Boog—didn't fare as well. A certain sameness in style, technical difficulties, and 2Pac-inspired gangsta posturing plagued their respective sets. The talent was there; the inspiration unfortunately wasn't.
In the middle of all this was the confrontational Nobunny, a last-minute addition to the bill. Completely out of his element, Nobunny played audience-baiting punk rock to a crowd who think punk is about "scene unity." Dressed in a psychotic rabbit mask, briefs, and not much more, he appalled a lot of young girls and had the soundman yelling, "I'll give you a hundred dollars to put your pants back on!" repeatedly. But Nobunny was for real, and the funny yet violent undercurrents of his music impressed most of the audience.
Fatlip (formerly of the Pharcyde) was crazy and amazing. He played for maybe 20 minutes to people who, as he put it, "obviously never heard of [him]," took off his pants in tribute to Nobunny, did a lot of his own DJing while rapping, and had everyone screaming, "What's up, Fatlip?" by the time he was done.
Crunkcore "innovators" Brokencyde hit the stage screaming over bad dubstep beats. Their tales of getting fucked, fucked up, and fucking up those who weren't down with the program were played out before they even played them. Drunk frat guys in screamo clothing, they are a ridiculous, yet completely sane, posse of clowns. Cold, calculating, and lecherous, let's hope that Brokencyde are just a tiny blip on the radar screen of music.