Tech N9ne brings special effects to Indy May29

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Tech N9ne brings special effects to Indy

It was a one-stop-shop for all things Strange Music when Tech N9ne’s Special Effects tour made its stop in Indianapolis recently, giving fans a chance to experience the brilliance of the “world’s biggest independent rapper” first hand.

Tech N9ne has always been known for pushing the boundaries when it comes to genre. He cites influences as diverse as Elton John, Biggie Smalls, Slipknot, and Pink Floyd, but he doesn’t just listen to a diverse mixture of music- he’s committed to promoting a wide array of music and bridging the gaps that separate genres. It seems as though Tech N9ne spends his days scheming and connecting the dots that many of us can’t even see upon first glance, but that makes it all the more enjoyable to experience the music and tours that come as a result.

Local duo Bulletproof and The Fool (along with their massive crew) kicked things off and hyped the crowd before the first tour artist, Zuse, took to the stage. Hailing from Kingston, Jamaica Zuse’s accent is thick, giving him a unique sound when combined with his vocal grit. Adding to the uniqueness, Zuse often let out a manic laugh that sounds like a dead-on impression of the classic “Wipeout” laughter, making for an interesting contrast.

Flint-natives King 810 were up next and seemed to take many in the audience by (pleasant) surprise. Considering they spent much of 2014 touring with the Rockstar Mayhem tour and then Slipknot and Korn in the Fall,c King 810 aren’t the first group that comes to mind when you start talking about a rap tour, but this is precisely where Tech N9ne’s master vision begins to take shape.

Lead singer David Gunn pounces across the stage like an animal stalking its prey before coming to rest in an exaggerated crouch. His guttural vocals are so dark and thick that at times it’s difficult to decipher what he’s saying, but the message manages to come through loud and clear. Despite the massive difference in sound, King 810 is right at home on the Special Effects tour.

Strange Music newcomer Murs was up next, and was the perfect artist to help lift the mood after the heaviness that hung in the air after King 810. Despite being with the label for a year his first album under Strange Music, Have A Nice Life, just released May 18th, and Murs was clearly riding the excitement that accompanies a release and he channeled that energy into his performance. Murs tackles heavy issues, but always in a way that shows the light at the end of the tunnel.

For his final song, “Everything,” Murs took a few moments to speak out against bulling as the piano hook (a sample from James Blunt’s 2007 song “I’ll Take Everything”) played in the background. With his old school flow, socially conscious lyrics, and positive energy, Murs’ performance was a true standout amongst the strong lineup.

After a brief intermission the lights dimmed and Chris Webby’s logo flashed on the screen. Within minutes a masked Webby walked on stage to screams and applause. It’s easy to see why fans went so crazy for Chris Webby, because he seems to go just as crazy for them. Midway through his set Webby hopped down into the pit and walked along the barricade, rapping with fans and taking photos with them- eventually taking one fans phone and holding it high in the air to take a massive group selfie with fans in the area.

A couple of highlights from Webby’s set include “It’s So Easy,” Webby’s anthem of sorts, which fans responded to by enthusiastically chanting every word, as well as “Superhuman,” which features a sample of the 3 Doors Down 90’s smash hit “Superman.” The song is clearly a fan favorite, and the 3 Doors Down sample brought enough nostalgic bliss to get everyone in the room totally in the zone and engaged, making for one of the best moments of the night.

There was an extended intermission between Chris Webby and Tech N9ne, but it went by quickly as Webby and Zuse walked along the pit interacting with fans, taking photos, and singing along to the music that was pumping over the speakers.

When Tech N9ne finally appeared fans went absolutely wild as Tech and his band started in to “E.B.A.H.” As “E.B.A.H.” came to a close Krizz Kaliko’s name flashed upon the screens, evoking huge cheers from the audience. The center screen split and out walked Krizz, ready to head straight into “Straight Out The Gate,” a relentless, frenzied track featuring the duo’s unique blend of insanity and poetry.

Tech N9ne and Krizz Kaliko have a knack for getting their fans involved in the show. Tech’s rhymes are lightning fast, but the majority of fans were following along and echoing every word, many singing with their faces painted or wearing masks to emulate Tech N9ne.

Although the focus was clearly on Tech N9ne and Krizz Kaliko, the band that was backing them put on an impressive show as well, especially drummer Alien War who spent much of the night pulling tricks and doing stick flips in the midst of songs, never missing a beat.

After a long night Tech N9ne bid fans farewell with “Stamina”- a track that’s roughly 30 seconds long and comprised of Tech spitting lines at breakneck speed before ending on a final “TECH N9NE!” call out.

It’s hard to imagine getting a better show for your money than what you’ll get at a Tech N9ne show. Six artists, all approaching their art from their own unique angle, but all headed towards the same center- to provide world class entertainment that portrays a message- a message of hope, of rising above frustration and opposition, a message of truth- acting as the magnifying glass to show the world the problems that are often swept under the rug in their community.

There’s something important going on here. Tech N9ne has his finger on the pulse of a movement, and like a chess grandmaster he can see what’s going to happen 3-4 moves down the road. Bringing a street metal band on a rap tour? Sounds crazy, but Tech knew what he was doing and what the fans would respond to.

This is one of the few tours that can be considered an absolute “can’t miss tour” this season, and as you walk out of the venue you can’t help but be filled with excitement, wondering what crazy idea is going to pop out of Tech N9ne’s mind next.

-Ashley Adcox

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