Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Live Review - FreeSol @ Standard Hotel

It was a bizarre day in New York City yesterday, the air was thick and heavy, the sky was dull and dreary and then it decided to downpour late in the afternoon. It was not typical hot, clear, electric August weather that we are used to. In fact, it was the wettest day on record - ever, and that is how the week started. As the moon came up, a private event was taking place at the posh boutique hotel, The Standard in the Meatpacking District. Shoe company Steve Madden was putting on a free gig for Memphis hip-hop inspired band Free Sol. Just as bizarre as the day was the venue, a narrow bar on the 18th floor of the swanky hotel, with the band playing around the perimeter of a small four foot deep pool. As the place packed in with models, VIPS, press and contest winners, the smell of chlorine was raging in the air and the anticipation to see a band that Justin Timberlake has been raving about was escalating. The band, which is set to release their yet-to-titled sophomore album later this year, took the stage just after eight and as the sun was going down behind them and the massive city skyline as their backdrop, it was the only highlight as to what would come of the band's terrible half hour set. Led by Emcee Free, Free Sol are a cross between funk and rap/rock and manage to find all of the worst in both genres. Free, whose delivery is very smooth falls under the problem of having a good flow but terrible lyrics, he maybe energetic to watch but once you listen to what he has to say, it is a turn off. He basically becomes another want to be commercial rapper just rhyming about money and girls. While the band are as generic as they come, what saves Free Sol from being a total bomb is the rhythm section of drummer Kickman Teddy and bassist Premo D'Anger, who are a delight to watch and showoff their musicianship with every lick. While the songs all began to sound the same, by the end of their set they were playing the music of Gorillaz "Feel Good Inc.," and Free would add his own lyrics to catchy melody that made me go from loving the song to instantly hating it, if Damon Albarn were to hear it, he would almost wish he never wrote it. Their is potential in Free Sol, however, it is going to take a long time to dig it out.