Portland Yacht Services, October 19, 2006  
By SONYA TOMLINSON  |  October 25, 2006

If you could get past the rough sound quality, the entertainment portion of the League’s Engage2Reclaim event was enough to make you stick around. African dancers, drum circles, fire throwers, breakdancers, and drag lip-synch were just the pre-cursors to the headlining artists. SayLove! was the first to take the stage, backed on the turntables by Dirt Coalition’s Altruistic. Everyone loves a female emcee, especially a good female one. SayLove! has done some serious growing and strengthening since her debut performance at the Alehouse last year. Confident, quick-tongued and packed with up-beat lyrics to make you think, she’s irresistible.

Next in line were Labseven. Fresh from their CD-release party earlier this month, this group prove tight and dynamic with the various personalities onstage. Their production is banging. They opened with the instant head-nodder, “Dark Roads.” Unfortunately, one of the emcees had a bunk mic and was barely audible — but it didn’t affect the group’s consistent energy. As if their beats alone didn’t already have the very large crowd dancing, they stepped it up even further by inviting members of Boombazi to join them on stage with live bass, drums, and horns.

It was a tough act to follow, but Bread and DJ Shade braved the stage at a very late hour after the beer had been cut off and the crowd began to fade. They held it down despite the strikes against them. Bread’s homegrown beats and earnest lyrics require listening ears rather than dancing feet and seemed appropriate for the event at hand. (Yes, I guested on a brand new track.) Emcees Altruistic and Rent from the upcoming final act joined in to fill out some of Bread’s choruses. Finally, well past everyone’s bedtime, Dirt Coalition, two members short, graced the stage. Where they garnered their energy from, I don’t know. Despite sound difficulties and seriously tangled mic chords they put forth their best. Maybe had there been less on the agenda they wouldn’t have been screwed on their time slot.

Dirt Coalition are going on a national tour at the end of the November with Robust. Watch "Listings" for a Portland kick-off show. Catch SayLove! November 6, 2006 at the Big Easy.

  Topics: New England Music News , Sonya Tomlinson, Dirt Coalition
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