A couple weekends back, I had the pleasure of attending the CWU Spring Concert. The show was headlined by Sol, Grynch and Nacho Picasso opened. If you know me, you know I have witnessed Sol in concert quite a few times. This was my first time ever seeing Grynch or Nacho other than a quick moment on stage at a recent Sam Lachow show in Seattle. I was stoked to see such an awesome grouping at CWU. All Seattle artists, all hip-hop, all in Ellensburg. But before I do my review of the show, let me backtrack a little.
Before the show I got to hang out with Grynch and Nacho Picasso. I work at a craft brewery called Iron Horse Brewery. I asked Grynch and crew if they would like to take a tour and I was so happy when they said yes. Some artists, whether actors, or musicians, or poets, propel one persona with their art, but are much different in real life. Grynch and Nacho Picasso are not two of those artists. They are almost exactly what you would expect them to be like in real life.
Grynch showed up to the Iron Horse Production Facility first. He was cool, calm, and collected. Very polite and friendly and so was everyone who was with him which included his DJ, DJ Nphared. He seemed genuinely interested in learning about the brewery and for the most part quietly listened while the tour was going on.
Nacho arrived shortly after Grynch, and you knew immediately that he had. He was loud, obnoxious but definitely friendly. He appeared somewhat interested in the brewery but seemed like the type that is easily bored. When we were all sitting around sampling some of the beer, Nacho reflected on his childhood. He mentioned that he used to go fishing with his grandpa at Moses Lake and his grandpa would make him take the fish off the hooks with his hands and he hated it. His grandpa always made him though because he claimed Nacho was good luck.
“Grandpa these are pimp hands,” Nacho said while twisting his hands around dramatically.
This was Nacho’s attempt to get out of fishing but I don’t think it worked.
Overall, the whole Seattle crew were quite lovely. They loved our flagship beer, Irish Death, and they loved that the brewery I work for isn’t very wasteful and keep things local. Local people trying to make it, regardless of industry need to stick together and I hope the brewery and Seattle hip-hop can continue to do that.
What was super sweet about meeting them beforehand was that Grynch gave me a shout-out during his show and one of Nacho’s guys gave me a shirt. It felt pretty cool and I definitely appreciated it. Grynch’s DJ has an Irish Death sticker on his laptop now too!
Grynch opened the show and he brought a ton of energy. The crowd gave him a lot of energy so that helped too. I felt bad because it took a while for the room to fill up. A lot of people showed up for Nacho Picasso and the SURC Ballroom was pretty packed by the time Sol got on stage. I wish that Grynch’s hand mic would’ve been a little louder or the music would’ve been turned down a bit. Sometimes it was hard to hear him and he was overpowered by the music. When I could hear him, he sounded crisp and clean. Grynch also brought CWU Alum Wanz (you know him from “Thriftshop”) on stage and they performed Wanz’s tribute to Nate Dogg which was so dope. Be sure to check out the music video and song featuring Warren G, Critical and Grynch.
Nacho Picasso and crew took the stage next. I have it on good authority that he was drinking quite a bit before the show (and no, not Iron Horse beer) but you know what, I couldn’t tell! He sounded great and the energy was where it needed to be. I particularly liked his sweatpants with suspenders look, which didn’t last long because he took his shirt off early in the set. If you aren’t familiar with Nacho I would describe him as sort of a Tyler the Creator meets ScHoolboy Q with some Danny Brown mixed in there because they both use electronica elements and are equally crazy. Some of his stuff sounds pretty dark and heavy but he has tracks you want to “party” to as well. Nacho isn’t afraid to say anything, I mean anything. He is an entertainer to the max. Most of his stuff isn’t appropriate for this blog because kids read this stuff but if you’re curious you can look him up yourself. I really like “American Literature” and his verse in Sam Lachow’s “Lemony Snicket.”
The crowd was ready for Sol and so was I. This marked the third time I would see him perform and I was super curious as to what it would be like. The first time I saw him was at Sasquatch when he played a big stage to a lot of fans. The second time I saw him was almost the exact opposite. He headlined Timbrrr!fest in Leavenworth and played a smaller stage where I am pretty sure 80% of the crowd had no idea who he was.
This audience was the happy medium. A lot of folks were familiar with his music but maybe 40% or more were experiencing him for the first time. Just like with the opening acts, the crowd was giving him the energy and he responded. Though the general formula to the show was the same (he even made the same joke about dudes making a move during “Need Your Love”) it still felt fresh. Sol played a combination of old and new stuff but as usual, closed with “Paint” which I almost feel is his anthem. The radio-ready song soothes my soul and makes me want to jump and down at the same time. I sure was jumping up and down the whole time and loving every minute of it. The thing I love about Sol is his smile. Not to be cheesy or fangirl, I like it because there’s nothing better than watching someone have fun. Sol looks like he is having such a good time up there I can’t help but have fun too. As a performer myself, I understand the joy that comes from a live performance that doesn’t really compare to anything else on Earth. All artists talk about that feeling, but I believe many start to see their art as a job but that certainly hasn’t happened to Sol, and for that I appreciate him.
If you get the chance, please support guys like Grynch, Nacho Picasso and Sol. Support local music, support local hip-hop and make sure Seattle remains a hub for creativity and musical exploration.