Brett Barest on Upstate Music: No Sleep, Thanks to Brooklyn (and More)

  • By cvbizz
  • August 14, 2019
  • 0
kota the friend
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The Upstate does not have enough hip-hop and I do not know why that is. The Firmament does a good job of bringing in some 90’s nostalgia type acts, like Bone Thugs & Harmony and the Wu-Tang after party not too long ago but I am always looking for the up and comers on the scene, both local and otherwise. For whatever reason, that is hard to find at most local venues although I suspect it would likely be received with a fair amount of support given the genre’s popularity on the national stage.

 All of this said, I am thrilled to see Brooklyn’s Kota the Friend taking the stage at the Radio Room this evening. To me, New York City is still the hip-hop capital of the world with all of my favorite artists – from the Beastie Boys to Biggie, the Wu-Tang Clan, and Tribe Called Quest – calling one of the five boroughs their home. West Coast, Atlanta, and all rap scenes in between are all fine and dandy but for my money, New York City is where it is at so my eyes lit up when I saw an MC from Brooklyn coming through town.

Kota the Friend is relatively new to the scene but he carries the torch for all New York hip hop artists that came before him, even drawing some comparisons to Nas and Tribe Called Quest. His rhymes are both clever and insightful and serve up a positivity that is generally lacking in modern hip-hop making him a refreshing voice on the scene. A talented multi-instrumentalist as well, Kota the Friend cites rock and folk as musical influences as much as hip-hop in his music. It is not every day that you hear of an MC cite the Beatles and Bob Dylan as musical inspiration but that is what makes Kota the Friend all the more fascinating and unique.

Oddly enough, Kota the Friend is not the only Brooklyn based talent visiting the Upstate this week as the National Reserve will be barreling into town for two shows Thursday evening. First, they kick things off just in time for happy hour with an in-store performance at Horizon Records and, later, they take the stage at the Radio Room for a full set with Daniel Donato opening up.

The National Reserve is a four piece rock band with an old school approach to making music. They have been polishing their craft in Brooklyn bars for almost five years and are now out on the road gaining new fans across the country. Musically, the band has a strong 1970’s rock vibe paired with the commanding voice and songwriting of frontman Sean Walsh. This is the kind of band that can be perfectly suited for wither an intimate record store performance or a boozy dive bar show that goes late into the evening. My advice would be to do both and get the best of both worlds this Thursday.

 If weekday shows do not jive with the responsibilities of the 9-5 weekday grind, Gottrocks is the place for live music this Saturday night. Asheville’s Dr. Bacon will be in town dishing out a healthy serving of “Appalachian Funk Rock” that is sure to keep you dancing until the wee hours of the evening. Wielding everything from guitars to harmonica, trombone, lap steel, violin, and even a kazoo, this is the kind of band that dishes out the kind of show that just might leave you a touch sore the next day – not that that is ever a bad thing.

Whether you want to catch hip-hop, rock, or funk, a weeknight show or a wild Saturday night, something intimate or full throttle, there are plenty of great options in the week ahead. Check out these shows and so many others on the iOnGreenville music calendar and start planning your week of live shows today. 

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