Facing the music

By SONYA TOMLINSON  |  July 11, 2007

Having only toured with Cerberus Shoal in the past I imagine this tour was different in the audience, company, and music you’re playing. What is your impression of our country’s hip-hop scene that this tour has exposed you to?
The underground hip-hop scene that I’ve experienced on this journey seems similar in its passion for the music, but in a completely different way than what I’m used to with Cerberus Shoal. It’s absolutely amazing to see the amount of crowd participation and outward enthusiasm for what’s happening on stage. There’s an intense energy that revolves around getting the crowd hyped up, the crowd feeding off that and shooting it back to us, in turn the band feeding off that and throwing it back out. It’s an extremely involved symbiotic relationship that exists only in the live show that I haven’t seen so intensively anywhere else.

This scene also seems way more open to other kinds of music than I had originally imagined. I’ve heard that "hip-hop is dead" from all kinds of sources. Yet, this crowd gives me the impression that they don’t believe that in the least. It’s evident in the passion that I’ve seen be exuded for an artist that is ever-evolving within his music and his live show. Hip-hop has obviously become something different than it was twenty years ago but, like any type of music, the roots are still very much there and the ideas are still the same.

The music, artists, producers, and audience that I’m lucky enough to be involved with seem to have grown upward and outward with the music and times, which is quite excellent to me. ... I’ve never been one to crave stagnancy and this has proven to be a way more positive and progressive experience than I could have ever hoped for. I mean, really — they like the saw?! Who woulda thought they would like a honky like me!

How has being the only girl on the tour been?
I have a hard time thinking about what it would be like any other way. I’ve always been surrounded by men within music and I’ve been a bit of a tomboy myself. I’m about as sensitive and hygienic as anyone in that van. I just have different parts! So in all actuality, if it was any other way, say, like, I don’t know, seven women — now that would be an intense ride! But seriously, it’s been a smooth tour, the smoothest ever. Everyone here is a gem and I will certainly remain friends with them for life.

Sage Francis | with Buck 65 + Alias + Buddy Wakefield | 7:30 pm July 15 | the Station, 272 St. John St, Portland | $18 | 207.773.3466

Email the author
Sonya Tomlinson: stomlinson@phx.com

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