I only had time for a half a day at Afropunk on Saturday, so I decided to catch the best bang for my buck at the raucous “red stage,” which had a heavier lineup than the other stages.
First up was the hard-rock Philly band Palaceburn, who had guitar licks for days and an energetic lead singer who’s vocal’s were strong and unique. Having gotten to the venue early the following day, I ran into a few of the members of the band before the gates opened and chatted for a bit about the festival. Learning that it was their first ever performance in NYC was a surprise, but make no mistake – this band will be back and they will garner some well deserved attention.
In between sets I heard a beautiful voice over on the big stage so jetted over a few hundred yards to see who it was. I caught a few songs from Adia Victoria, who remarked, “I can’t sing as hard as I should, because Lauryn Hill is here and I may shit myself.”
RAAA was ambling onstage as I got back just in time for what proved to be the most energetic and inspiring set I saw the whole weekend. Consisting of NYC school friends, all under the age of 21, RAAA used every second of their 30 minute set to make a statement – that they just might be the best young hip-hop group since I dare say it – Wu-Tang Clan. This isn’t your average hip-hop group however, despite their young ages, they are accomplished musicians that played their instruments live…without any pre-recorded tracks. A few songs in is where the fun started when a few members stage-dove and joined the moshpit. The pure energy this young group is about is hard to find these days, and am really looking forward to seeing them grow into men.
I had time for one more set before having to jet off to rough trade for our birthday bash, so I decided to stay put and check out metal-rockers Candiria. Candiria has been rocking the fuck out for nearly twenty years in Brooklyn and with their seemingly effortless set, made a new fan out of me. With super tight guitar, bass, and percussion work – lead singer Carley Coma tore up his vocals with incredible range and a penchant for jumping (ridiculously high) when the mood struck him. The moshpit, as they hammered away, was a flurry of flying legs, arms and massive smiles throughout; which was a perfect way to end my short day at Afropunk.
Article: Shayne Hanley