The Show – Zion I & The Grouch

So I was able to arrange to chat with AmpLive from Zion I before the show last night at the Star Bar in Park City. We got to talk for maybe 20 minutes, but, would you know it, the app I was using on my iPad didn’t like that I switched to my notes. Phone interview later, but…

The show was very good. Opening before the first artist was a couple of the local guys whose names I can’t recall. A couple CDJs, a MacBook, and a great MC were a huge improvement over the house’s music.

The Shotgun Wedding Quintet, out of Oakland, was up next, and they really surprised me. A five-member group, their MC, Dublin, on the MPC and the mic while the guys in the band jam away. Very good MC with much more skill than I expected, and a great stage presence. The guys in the band are probably as good as I’ve seen live. They’ve played with many MCs and, during a medley in the later part of the set, showed their Hip-Hop chops over and over. Very entertaining and I’m going to grab some of their material for sure.

Blu seemed uncomfortable, for whatever reason. He and his DJ, Exile, got a bit of a cool reception and didn’t get much farther than that, if I’m reading the crowd right. Blu was a bit hard to understand and he paled in comparison to the SWQ.

Zion I and The Grouch took the stage and really set it off, doing Victorious People, Drop It On the 1, and Rockit Man in the first five tracks. Zumbi and The Grouch really were into getting the crowd moving and that sure did happen. AmpLive was in the back, mixing the beats on some gear I wish I knew more about. Given the crates and crates of vinyl I saw in the back, I’m thinking that he was using a lot of vinyl and at least one MPC because he sure wasn’t using a laptop.

The highlight of the show for me, however, is when he took out what I can only imagine might be called and MPC-tar and jammed to the crowd. It’s an instrument that I can only describe as the neck of a guitar attached to an AKAI MPC. It was sensational and he was dropping serious beats and UK Bass on us. The crowd went NUTS.

Then, to almost top it off, Zumbi and Dublin, from SWQ, literally freestyling to AmpLive’s beats while The Grouch chilled to the side, content to watch the show with the rest of us. It was intense, and the addition of the other SWQ members remained for the rest of the show. The combination of all these elements made for a really thick feel; just what I was hoping for.

Zumbi, to his credit, even broke up some beef going on, telling them to take it out into the cold night and not to mess with their vibe. It was just another one of the pieces of what was really a positive show. We had to leave before it finished because of the time and that Park City is at least an hour’s drive from home, but I know the show could have gone on for another hour, there was that much energy in the room.

Great show, great vibes, and great message. It really did make me feel good. Job well done, guys.

I got to talk briefly with the representative from the local non-profit organization that this show sponsored, Art Kids, and they were very surprised and impressed at being selected for the cause and that the tour was focusing on this positive message.

Hey, I even got my AmpLive tee, with the MPC-tar on the back, and a Juicy Juice 12″ single!

I’ll be in touch with AmpLive soon and will be looking forward to updating this post with some more information about the interview.

Touring in Utah – March/April 2011

Here are some of the artists I know traveling through the State of Deseret during March and April 2011 that you may be interested in:

Zion I & The Grouch
3/29 – Star Bar, Park City

4/01 – The Great Saltair, Magna

Blueprint w/ Macklemore
4/03 – Kilby Court, SLC

Mount Kimbie w/Beats Antique
04/05 – The Depot, SLC

TOUR – Zion I & The Grouch + Community Outreach Campaign

Getting the word out now for this amazing show on the 29th of March at the Star Bar in Park City, Utah.

As quoted by Co-Sign Collective:

To kick off the release of their much anticipated album Heroes in the Healing of the Nation, West Coast hip-hop crew Zion I & The Grouch are excited to announce a nationwide tour, starting March 19 at the historic Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco. The trio, long since known for tackling weighty topics, are donating 100% of all ticketing fees sold through to local community organizations. The group has partnered up with different organizations in every city, such as Totem Star, Project Commotion, Self Enhancement Center, and Urban Peak.

The Healing of the Nation Tour also features Blu, and The Jacka on select dates, with The Shotgun Wedding Quintet (Jazz Mafia) opening each show. The Heroes in the Healing of the Nation album features Freeway, Fashawn, Casual, Mystic, Eric Rachmany, Jacob Hemphill of Soja, Eligh, Marty James, Los Rakas, Codany Holiday, and the R.O.D Project and is due out March 22, 2011.

For a full list of organizations, go to

Zion I & The Grouch
* w/ Blu
% w/ The Jacka
# w/ The Shotgun Wedding Quintet (Jazz Mafia)

3/16/11 Austin, TX @ Mohawk (SXSW)
3/18/11 Austin, TX @ Beauty Bar (SXSW)
3/19/11 San Francisco, CA @ The Fillmore * % #
3/20/11 Fresno, CA @ Fulton 55 *#
3/21/11 Sacramento, CA @ Ace of Spades * #
3/23/11 Arcata, CA @ Humbrew * #
3/24/11 Eugene OR @ McDonald Theatre * #
3/25/11 Portland, OR @ BRANX * #
3/26/11 Seattle, WA @ Nectars * #
3/27/11 Missoula, MT @ Palace Lounge * #
3/29/11 Park City @ Star Bar * #
3/30/11 Aspen, CO @ The Belly Up * #
3/31/11 Ft Collins, CO @ Aggie Theater * #
4/01/11 Boulder @ Fox Theater * #
4/02/11 Denver, CO @ City Hall * #
4/15/11 Madison, WI @ Majestic #
4/17/11 Chicago, IL @ Abbey Theater #
4/18/11 Cleveland, OH @ Grog Shop #
4/20/11 Burlington, VT @ Higher Ground #
4/21/11 Boston, MA @ Middle East Club #
4/22/11 Brooklyn, NY @ Knitting Factory #
4/23/11 Baltimore, MD @ The Quarter #
4/24/11 Philadelphia, PA @ The Blockley Poorhouse #
4/25/11 Tempe, AZ @ The Club House #
4/26/11 Los Angeles, CA @ El Rey Theatre #
4/28/11 San Luis Obispo, CA @ SLO Brewing Co. #
4/29/11 Santa Clara, CA @ The Avalon #