Sunday, February 28, 2010

Extra Kool's CD Release Party

Hosting a party amidst a blizzard is tricky, but it is something every Denver musician will likely need to attempt at some point. On February 20th, I ran through the snowy streets of downtown Denver, carrying a huge stack of the Music Buzz, heading towards Leela's European Cafe. I was surprised, upon entering, to find the place filled nearly to capacity. A big crowd in weather like this? That's a sign you are in for a great show. Immediately, Extra Kool could be spotted walking through the crowd, talking and laughing with fans.

After a slow start (Leela's is notorious for its great atmosphere...and bad equipment), Dirty Lab's newest rapper kicked off the party. Joshie Juronimoe, at the age of 16, is sure to be a great addition to the lineup. There are things he will need to learn along the way like maintaining an even volume and building his stage presence. Nevertheless, he is one rapper you'll want to keep an eye on.

Next up was Damon JeVon. I was unfamiliar with him and his music, and oh, how I have missed out! He mixed rap and R&B seamlessly and intelligently. His passion showed through each song, whether it was about the apocalypse or about spirituality. In a rendition of "Sweet Lord," he sang a capella, with the crowd's rhythmic clapping as percussion. Very impressive.

I had heard rumblings about Doctype for months, but had never seen him perform. When he took the stage, he immediately grabbed hold of the audience. He is pure energy trapped in the body of a man. Against a background of pre-mixed tracks, he grabbed a drum and beat it with such force and vigor, I was sure he might spontaneously combust.

Then it was time for the man of the hour. Extra Kool did something interesting and unexpected: he performed the tracks from his new album--Even's Dead: Chronicles of an American Waster--start to finish, with the occasional help of Time. Kool's personable stage presence, sense of humor, and passionate delivery make each show fantastic...and well worth the trip through a blizzard.

After capping off the final song with a slowed-down, spoken version of "A Dracula Factory," he and Time obliged the audience with a few older songs, then graciously settled down to sign copies of his album for fans before they set out once again into the cold night.

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