For Revolutionaries Only
By day, MC Apostle spreads the hip hop gospel in the classroom; by night, he does it onstage, both as part of Heavyweight Dub Champion and on his own. “I’m a revolutionary, I’m not a rapper,” Apostle says on “Destroy The Industry,” a track from his new, self-released solo album, Lyrical Activism. Apostle, whose real name is Jeff Campbell, hails from Denver, where he founded and ran the Colorado Hip Hop Coalition, a nonprofit organization that provided workshops and classes to at-risk middle school and high school students throughout the state. In 2006, after more than seven years of running the CHHC, Campbell stepped down from his post and moved to San Francisco to join the rest of the Heavyweight Dub Champion and to write Lyrical Activism, his fourth solo effort.
The album is the first solo record Campbell has released in a while, but it’s worth the wait. On “For Revolutionaries Only,” Apostle spits statistics about global poverty like the gunshot sounds that finish out the track. But infectious, tightly constructed tracks like “For Revolutionaries Only” aren’t Apostle’s work alone; Stero Lion of Heavyweight Dub Champion, vocalist Viveca Hawkins and turntable master DJ Quest, who accompanies Apostle on this tour, also make several appearances on the record.
While all of the artists involved make indispensable contributions to the quality of the music, DJ Quest’s beats fit Apostle’s rhymes like a tailored suit. His futuristic beats draw on heavy metal and industrial techno, but some tastefully applied scratching keeps the music squarely in the hip hop realm. With the tense, climactic nature of the beats to back up Apostle’s call to arms, Lyrical Activism has the ability to inspire physical movement just as well as any revolutionary moment. Apostle and DJ Quest perform at 9 pm Thursday, March 13 at Sam Bond’s Garage. 21+ show. $5. — Sara Brickner
In Bed With Ed
Secretly wish the ’70s weren’t over so you could watch wacky late night talk shows in the vein of Johnny Carson? Portland comedian Aaron Ross brings to life motivational speaker turned ’70s-style talk show host Ed Forman in his show “The Ed Forman Show, with ME! ED FORMAN!” The show radiates with the essence of an improv talk show complete with monologue, house band, sidekick and guest performers. “The Ed Forman Show” ties together high-concept ideas with lowbrow humor and tailor-makes a musical and comedic experience unique to each audience.
Ever envy those people on “Whose Line is it Anyway?” who volunteer to publicly embarrass themselves by being dragged on stage to participate in the spectacle? A major part of “The Ed Forman Show” relies on audience participation, whether audience members can handle being the butt of his jokes or not. Bits may include “QuEDstions,” “In bED with ED” and “A Match Made in ED.” “The Ed Forman Show” brings to Eugene house musician Adam Crossley; Bobby Mickey, comedian/faithful sidekick/brother of Ed; musical guests The Taste; stand-up comics Ron Funches and Chris Castles; and local celebrity guests, who haven’t yet been announced.
Ross himself has a strong background in stand-up comedy, having recently performed at the American Marketing Association’s awards gala in Portland and done improv all over the country. Ross may best be known from his critically acclaimed one-man show “Al Gore Memorial High School.”
Check out “The Ed Forman Show, with ME! ED FORMAN!” at 9 pm Sunday, March 16, at Black Forest. 21+ event. Free. — Anne Pick
Richard Julian‘s latest album, Sunday Morning in Saturday’s Shoes, invites the listener to wonder about Julian as a person: his inspirations, his methods as a songwriter, the intensity of his gaze as he collects moments of city life, reinvents them into miniature plays and sets them to unobtrusive yet fully realized arrangements. Already a recognized songwriter with four albums under his guitar strap, Julian’s release of Sunday Morning doesn’t so much mark his arrival as a musical mind of note, but rather follows a trajectory of quiet success and mounting critical acclaim. A favorite of fellow singer-songwriters Bonnie Raitt and Norah Jones, this not-entirely-folk, not-entirely-rock or jazz figure is breaking away from the “less is more” trend that finds many modern songwriters whittling their words into the starkest possible version of emotion or experience. Whether this refusal to minimize is a conscious decision on Julian’s part or an element of his creative character, it is blissfully accompanied by the ability to not oversaturate songs with self-indulgent language or weighty production.
An amateur analyst might surmise that the naked quality of Julian’s voice means he doesn’t really think of himself as a singer. Missing are the self-consciously bent notes, the dramatic drawing of breath, the glib mispronunciations that pepper performances of more showboaty vocalists. Instead, Julian is telling stories that compel him with clear, intimate tones and emotional undercurrents that flow because they exist naturally, not because he is manufacturing them. Sunday Morning is his second release inspired primarily by life in New York, the title a reference to Julian’s morning observation of a young socialite wearing an ensemble that was clearly selected the night before. Perhaps it is his poetic ponderings on the hidden lives of others that make Julian such a curiosity-worthy character himself. Richard Julian plays at 9 pm Thursday, March 20, at Cozmic Pizza. $5. — Adrienne van der Valk