Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Theophilus London is falling down...

I love to jam, who doesn't?

Recently, I had the chance to jam pretty hard at the Crash Mansion show featuring up and coming Brooklyn native Theophilus London. Opening up for the spoken word collective "iLL Literacy", Theophilus stole the show with his insanely hyped performance style. In fact, I came home from the show and looked him up right away, instead of listening to the free mixtape that I got from the main act.

Drawing from every genre possible, Theophilus London's music is most heavily influenced by soul, and new wave. His sound ranges from the punk-inspired chords in "Ultra Violet" to the 90s dance party throwback "Blindfolded". Even though his influences are varied and distinct, an undercurrent of that nu-rave, electronica sound that's poppin up all over Baltimore and Brooklyn as of late is present on all the tracks, tying together the random jumps from a Michael Jackson "Jam" remix to the techno-borrowing "Sand Castles BlackxBlue". Theo's rhymes are funny and manage to present age-as-old, boring themes like love and sex in a new light. Case in point is my favorite track, the trip-hop-electronica-r&b-inspired-ass-kickin' "Cold Pillow". The chill-out, soulful jam is the story of his musings on a breakup, the chorus repeating over and over that it's "gonna be a cold, cold pillow tonight". Ironic, sarcastic lines like these are thrown into high gear by his live performance.

Looking much like an alter ego of that other famous Theo-- of the Huxtibile clan--his tight black jeans and dopey sweaters do little to emphasize the beast lying within. He talks directly to the crowd, walking us through (with some pretty real to life, fucked up language) his love life. Eliciting laughs, "awws", and coos from the ladies, Theo's one-on-one with the crowd made him so endearing that a fan (albeit, a drunk fan), felt at ease enough to jump up onstage and grab a guitar, jamming along. It's moments like these-- when a drunk girl booty dances and subsequently falls over on stage-- that show an artist's worth. And Theophilus London, who booty popped right back with the intoxicated blonde and gave her a warm hug, is worth a whole lot.

Check out his myspace to listen to the songs mentioned in this review, as well as for a link to download his mixtape:


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