Port City Music Hall
Lyrics Born, Con Brio

Lyrics Born

Con Brio

Graphic Melee

Fri, October 4, 2019

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

Port City Music Hall

Portland, ME

$18 Advance / $20 Day of Show

This event is 18 and over

Buy tickets in person at the Port City Music Hall box office (504 Congress Street) Wednesday-Friday 10AM-5PM, charge by phone at 800-745-3000, or online right here. PCMH box office will open one hour before doors night of show.

Lyrics Born
Lyrics Born
Lyrics Born relocated to the United States from his birthplace of Toyko, Japan right around the time Hip Hop was exploding on the East Coast.

From the moment he heard Sugar Hill Gang’s 1980 classic “Rapper’s Delight,” the Bay Area Hip Hop luminary knew he’d found his calling.

Twenty-five years later, LB has obliterated the stereotypes of what an MC is “supposed to” look like and captured the hearts of countless fans who gravitate to his distinctive voice. He’s now the only Asian-American MC to release 10 studios albums and the first to play major music festivals like Coachella and Lollapalooza.

From his Quannum Recordings debut with Latyrx,1997’s The Album, to 2003’s seminal solo album Later That Day, he’s consistently pushed the boundaries of his craft. His newest project, Quite A Life, is like the exclamation point on his milestone year.

“Ten albums is a lot for any artist, let alone an indie artist who colored outside the lines, so to speak,” LB says. “I'm just appreciative there was always somehow a path for me, no matter how impossible it seemed — either on paper or in practice.”

As the first Asian-American to release a greatest hits compilation, he’s pumped out multiple smash singles across four official studio albums. From “Stop Complaining” to “Callin’ Out” and “I Like It, I Love It” and “I Changed My Mind,” his material has always retained a musically eclectic feel.

The self-proclaimed “funkiest rapper alive” carries on his tradition of weaving funk and soul into classic, boom-bap Hip Hop on Quite A Life. Without the influence of icons like James Brown, George Clinton, Bootsy Collins, Zapp and Rogers, LB admits he wouldn’t be who he is today.

Coupled with his love of rap pioneers such as KRS-One, Rakim and Snoop Dogg, LB’s music is the perfect Hip Hop and funk-flavored gumbo.

For live shows, LB often recruits a full band to “keep it all the way funky” for his audience. Coupled with wife/singer Joyo Velarde’s powerful voice, the unrelenting energy of his performances electrify every crowd.

Since establishing himself among the upper echelon of indie Hip Hop artists, LB has expanded his empire into film. This year, he has roles in Boots Riley’s critically acclaimed film Sorry To Bother You and the Netflix movie Always Be My Maybe starring comedian Ali Wong and Keanu Reeves.

“I'm funny, or so I’m told [laughs],” LB says.“I absolutely love comedy and being ridiculous. These past couple films have been an incredible experience. I'm especially proud to be a part of films that challenge norms and it doesn't hurt to work with your friends either.
“I really love comedic acting. As an artist, it's like another color on my palette. I will be doing more advocating for the underserved in the arts as well, particular for Asian Americans and other people of color. The world needs the same diversity in the arts as we do in real life.”

As LB continues the next chapter, he jokes that he’s become that “old stubborn Japanese man” who says what he wants and he’s not planning on going anywhere. In fact, his goal over the next 25 years is to make another 10 albums and more films. Most notably, he wants to continue providing a platform for other Asian-Americans, a slice of the population that is consistently underrepresented in pop culture.

When he looks back on the last 25 years, he has nothing but gratitude for his position in the Hip Hop space and life in general.

“I'm just blessed and grateful to be alive and pursuing my passion after 25 years,” LB says. “That’s mind-blowing for me when I really think about it. All the obstacles I've faced and accolades I've received, I can only be thankful.”
Con Brio
Con Brio
There’s a moment before each Con Brio show — before the backflips, the guitar solos, the buoyant horn lines over bass, drum and synth — when all seven band members come in for a huddle. It’s a way to say grace; an acknowledgment of live music as a team sport; a moment of stillness before they explode.

“Let’s work,” they say, their heads bowed together. And then they do.

Named for an Italian musical direction meaning ‘with spirit,’ Con Brio is a San Francisco Bay Area band that plays soul, psych-rock and R&B as fresh and freethinking as the place they call home. With charismatic singer Ziek McCarter bringing “the dance moves, splits and all, of James Brown” (KQED) and a band that “comes across like a party punk version of Sly and the Family Stone” (Consequence of Sound), Con Brio is known to convert anyone who sees their electric live show.

Founded in 2013 by veteran players with vastly different musical backgrounds*, the band quickly became a favorite up and down the West Coast, then across the U.S., and then overseas in places like Japan and the Netherlands. In 2016, Con Brio’s debut LP Paradise paired uplifting dance party-starters (and some psychotropic electric guitar work from Benjamin Andrews) with powerful lyrics about inequality and the Black Lives Matter movement, instantly putting the band on the map for their earnest, inspiring, and thoroughly American ethos.

As comedian and CNN commentator W. Kamau Bell put it, they’re our current president’s “worst nightmare: a multiracial band that makes people feel good.”

Explorer, out on July 6th, both builds on the success of Paradise and serves as a travelogue of sorts — a reflection on the two years of nearly nonstop touring that followed their first record’s success. (The band, known in the industry for their tireless work ethic, has played high-profile sets at Outside Lands, Lollapalooza, Bumbershoot, Austin City Limits, Japan’s Fuji Rock, the Montreal Jazz Festival, Australia’s Bluesfest Byron Bay, and the Netherlands’ North Sea Jazz Festival, to name just a few.)

Having proved themselves on an international stage, Con Brio breaks new ground on Explorer, expanding beyond raw energy and retro sounds toward a more contemporary, layered production style, all delivered with road-tested confidence.

On “I Wanna” — a lusty, mischievous ode to the art of catching a stranger’s eye across a crowded club — McCarter pours his voice, richer than ever, over a thick, irresistibly danceable rhythm from Jonathan Kirchner (bass) and Andrew Laubacher (drums). “Body Language” slows that theme to a simmer, with a nimble, lyrical horn line from Marcus Stephens (saxophone) and Brendan Liu (trumpet) front and center.

Songs like “United State of Mind” and “Royal Rage,” meanwhile, reflect on America’s current political moment, urging strength and perspective in the face of cynicism and apathy. Over a cheerful guitar lick from Andrews, the former track sings the praises of travel, the ways it can make the world feel bigger and smaller all at once — and how sometimes you have to leave home to see it with fresh eyes. “Rage” is a rally cry, a call to resistance, with Laubacher’s kick drum leading the march: “Feeling the world pulling apart, where is the we in who we are?” asks McCarter. “When will it end, where do we start?’

Then there’s Con Brio’s tendency to upend expectations: they’ve never been afraid of a little genre-bending. “Heart Shaped Box” began as a fun cover the band arranged on a whim on a rare day off on tour; within weeks it became one of the most exciting moments in the band’s live show. On the record, it’s a playful yet potent tribute, served surprisingly well by horns and a smart, slinky synth line from Patrick Glynn.

Ultimately, Explorer is a leap for Con Brio in more ways than one. It’s a big record, with plenty of joy, a few growing pains, and more questions than answers. What does it mean to be an American band traveling the world in the year 2018 with a message of hope and tolerance? The record sounds, unsurprisingly, like a band on the verge.

Wherever Explorer takes them, they go with open eyes. They’re ready to huddle up, take the stage, and get to work — where they’ve found that, night after night, the things that divide us don’t stand a chance on the dance floor.
Graphic Melee
Graphic Melee
-New England based Emcee, Producer, DJ, Audio Engineer
-Curator of Todayinhiphophistory.com
-1/2 of Graphic Antics
-1/2 of Party Killer
-House DJ for Monday of the Minds
Venue Information:
Port City Music Hall
504 Congress St
Portland, ME, 04101