Live Review: MellowHype and Trash Talk @ The Rickshaw Theatre – December 14th 2012

The Rickshaw was bumping with party-seekers Friday night for the TrashWang West Coast tour. “Trash Wang” is Trash Talk, a 4-piece hardcore punk band from Sacramento, on tour with LA hip-hop duo MellowHype. What do party-seekers, hardcore punk rockers, and hip-hop artists have in common? The phenomenon that is Odd Future.

Odd Future is a young hip-hop collective that is profane, reckless, and controversial. Being at an Odd Future concert is like being at a hardcore punk show without the punk rockers. To make sense of Trash Talk and MellowHype being on the same bill is to add the punk rockers to the equation; the rambunctious feeling of moshing to punk music is very much present in Odd Future’s angsty rapping. Also, Trash Talk was recently signed to Odd Future Records (Odd Future’s independent record label), and MellowHype is a group that features two members of Odd Future: Hodgy Beats and Left Brain.

Trash Talk and MellowHype are not such an unlikely pairing after all. The combination of hardcore punk with hip-hop is definitely an exciting idea as a concertgoer, and it made for a unique concert experience. The night started out with local openers White Lung and Joyce Collingwood, who amped up the punk feel of the Rickshaw. Next, MellowHype brought their hip-hop flavour to the night. Hodgy Beats walked on the stage and demanded that “Left Brain get his ass up here right now,” and they began their set. Despite the change in genre, the energy level of the room escalated with MellowHype’s performance. Fans were left satisfied as MellowHype performed songs off Numbers, their latest album, and favourites from their previous work BlackenedWhite. Although they brought hype and a refreshingly youthful energy to the stage, the overall sound of the performance was weak. Maybe MellowHype would have been better off if they had a live DJ to spin their beats. Their rapping was fairly inaudible aside from the occasional “F*** tha police.” Regardless, MellowHype did not disappoint their fans, and they brought a vibe that made the night all the more interesting.

Moments after MellowHype’s set finished, Trash Talk took the stage. In an instant, I found myself in the middle of a mosh pit, and men in plaid with toques were trampling each other around me. While I don’t know much about the origin of the name “Trash Talk,” or the etiquette (or lackthereof) of punk shows, the vocalist of the band took many moments to trash talk Vancouver and his audience. He expressed his discomfort with the Rickshaw’s location, calling it “a skid row times 1000 on acid.” He expressed disdain for the crowd being all 19+. Aside from my contempt for the vocalist’s attitude, I still thought that the band delivered a satisfying and intense hardcore performance.

Being more of a MellowHype fan, I am uncertain what to make of one of my first experiences of live hardcore punk. It was refreshing that I got to see two artists that have very different styles of music in one evening. And, if I have learned anything from attending this concert, it is that maybe some genres of music aren’t all that different from each other. My take on “Trash Wang” is that hip-hop isn’t so different from punk when you combine angsty content and sounds with reckless moshing and high-energy performance artists. It is a strange, yet functional equation.

Mellowhype 18

Photos © Pavel Boiko

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