Juiceboxxx | 02.26.08

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"Styles…I have many/My flows are like candy/And my beats are Good And Plenty/So eat it up/It’s on me"

   

Funky Buddha Lounge, Chicago

The Juiceboxxx performance at the Funky Buddha Lounge was the highlight of a truly Chicago show. The Milwaukee club rapper, along with DJ Rand Sevilla, Neues Musiker-Kollektiv, and BFF, drew close to 100 experienced party people. The double-bar, nice-sized dance floor, lounge area, and dragon-themed DJ booth only enhanced the warm and fun-loving feel immediately palpable from what little I saw of BFF’s set. BFF’s music doesn’t stray too far from what you’d expect from an artist named Best Friend Forever: danceable pre-recorded beats backed by funny animated projections and sung over by the twenty-something Elisa Harkins. The finale, "Ham Dance," definitely rocked the hardest.

Between acts, the attention shifted from the stage to the dance floor, but the party never ceased. Jams ranging from "Puttin’ on the Ritz" to Bizarre Inc’s "Playing with Knives" provided the ideal interlude until Juiceboxxx took the stage at 12:45.  He emerged from the crowd sporting red-on-red Filas, a tight pair of jeans, and a loose ’90’s T-shirt (later removed), saying, "My name is Juiceboxxx, from Milwaukee. Yeah, I know, that’s pretty close," followed by some crowd pump-ups.

Juiceboxxx was stationary on stage for maybe the first three seconds of the opener, "Thunder Jam # 5," and spent the rest of the time in the faces of the crowd, atop a bar stool in the middle of the dance floor, and on his knees amidst the adoring fans. For St. Louis readers, Juiceboxxx’s live performance matches Superfun Yeah Yeah Rocketship’s, although Juiceboxxx uses fewer props, has more sophisticated beats, and his lyrical depth transcends comic book rivals. While introducing song two, "100 MPH," Juiceboxxx was already warning fans that he had just a few more numbers. "100 MPH" showcased an impressive Chicago-themed freestyle and a well-choreographed microphone slam as the song paused.

This mini-tour is in support of the incredible new single, "Center Stage," the Dre Skull collaboration and follow-up to "Sweat."  "Riding Hard" seemed to be a new cut to most fans. He finished the five-song set with the anticipated "Sweat" coinciding strangely with a projection of a naked sumo woman. No acts followed Juiceboxxx, but the bar and the music from the DJ booth were enough to keep the Funky Buddha Lounge a full-blown party. 

Overall it was a quality show, a serious display of fun art, and a mutual celebration among the artists themselves and between the performers and the diverse crowd, making for a great night. | Joseph O’Fallon

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