by: Katie Tilford
Once again, the much-hyped Check Yo Ponytail 2 delivered a high-quality showcase of emerging artists November 25th at the Echoplex. Openers Reva DeVito and Roane Namuh out of Portland set the mood for the evening with laid back, yet danceable beats and provocative singing from Reva. She talked between all the songs, but not in an annoying way or just to repeat "thanks, we're so-and-so" over and over. She always had something nice to say like "I'm feeling fuzzy" (though, that may have had something to do with her yellow pom-pom covered ensemble). Always looking like they were having a blast, Reva and Roane came off as sincere and very much into their craft. You'd think they were LA locals from their candor with the crowd.
Next up--after a surprisingly short delay time between sets--was another singer-accompanied-by-dude-doing-beats. Taking the mic in a very fitted gray suit and tie was Robert Raimon Roy from Florida, a cheeky rapper who earned his LA cred by having no claim to cred in the first place. Roy won over the audience with playfully aggressive rapping punctuated with smirks, smiles, and one stone-faced air guitar solo. Completely serious about not taking himself self too seriously, he got the audience on his level by inviting a call-and-response which they participated in unabashedly.
The viewer may have begun to notice a trend when Danish two-piece Quadron took the stage, but over the course of the performance Coco and Robin presented a unique brand of retro soul/funk with hip hop beats smuggled in here and there. From their super positive crowd response, I got the feeling that some of the audience may have even attended just to see them. Quadron sampled familiar pop-song hooks that you might have heard on an old TV Land show (or was it a Soul Train rerun?) and their production blurred the line between electronic and hip hop genres. But can we talk about Coco's voice for a second? She's the kind of singer that makes you mad that other people are more famous than her. Quadron brought the energy level down in a controlled way a few times with some ballads then brought it up again just in time for their friends, The Internet, to go on.
Breaking the chain of Singer + Maker of Beats, The Internet consisted of Syd Tha Kyd and Matt Martians backed by a full band. This was actually my first introduction into the OFWGKTA sphere, which gets tacked onto The Internet's name on promo material (not just so you know who they are but so you can get decently relevant search engine results about them). Whatever your opinion of the Odd Future pack, you can't deny that they're super talented at what they do. Yet with this side project Syd and Matt are clearly doing their own thing. The set consisted of some downtempo jams and some bootie-bumpin' hits, very smooth and featuring feminist themes presented with positivity (like "She DGAF" which prompted an audience singalong complete with hand gestures). Looking out into the crowd between songs, Syd mentioned that she knew a lot of people at the venue that night, and you could see the warm and fuzzies in her expression the whole set. She performed with a conversational style, and at times it felt like we were just getting to watch the band jam like they do when no one else is around--especially when Mike Einziger of Incubus and Coco from Quadron took the stage for guest spots. All in all, Syd had the crowd boogiein' down and eating out of the palm of her hand. The Internet managed to shed their OFWGKTA mythology built up on, well, theactual Internet to turn the place into an intimate gathering of very real people.