Here it is #IntoThePitUniverse, the last article of the year from Emeri Devante. It seems there’s no better way to close out 2019 than to recap my favorite live show of the year! Of the many events attended, there is one show the stuck out to me far greater than the rest. This past Halloween, Strange Music’s staple artist, Tech N9ne performed one of the best live set’s I’ve ever seen at Tempe, Arizona’s, Marquee Theater. Many critics label Tech N9ne as a rapper in the hip-hop category, but his talent blatantly and unapologetically crosses genres as seen in his notable collaborations with metal icons Jonathan Davis, Corey Taylor and more to be named. Tech typically makes it out to the greater Phoenix area at least once a year, but often twice on various tours of his own and to headline the Power 98.3 Hip Hop Halloween concert. This year, he included the date as a part of his 2018 – Independent Grind Tour co-starring his long time label-mate, Krizz Kaliko along with former Funk Volume artist, Dizzy Wright and Tempe’s own, Futuristic. A lineup of this caliber would make any versed indie-head eager to see. Tech N9ne’s Independent Grind Tour is known for showcasing top tier talent in the independent genre and this year’s lineup lived up to the tour’s reputation.
Shortly after doors opened I was able to enter the venue, but not long after, a frenzy of costumed Technicians (devout fans of Tech N9ne) began to swarm the lobby bar. “Bou Lou”, Tech’s newest venture is an unfiltered wheat beer named after his platinum selling record, “Caribou Lou”; and it was being sought after by Technicians like a Saharan watering hole in mid summer. The beer was only released in isolated markets as a test run before the tour, and the Strange Music corporation saw it fit to bring it along on tour to see how well it performed across the country. Since my goal was to get prime placement for the show by getting close to the stage early, I figured I’d find my spot, make friends that could hold it until I returned with the Bou Lou for everyone to enjoy. Spoiler alert, this was not the case and did not end up happening the way I planned. Not only did the front of the stage crowd faster than the back bar, but Tech N9ne’s beer sold out within an hour of doors opening. Within minutes the venue was virtually packed to capacity with slutty super heroes, fanatical face painted Technicians, and all of those in between coming to see the KOD (King of Darkness) in his last AZ performance of the year.
Opening act, Dizzy Wright owned his set with a mellow, laid back performance in a style mostly favored by the stoners in the audience. Hometown hero, Futuristic received an overwhelming show of support during the duration of his set. Not only did the energy in the room elevate, but his performance left the crowd that much more excited for the main event.
The space in between the main event and the prior openers was riddled with anticipation. “KC-MO Roll” (Kansa City, Missouri Roll Call) and Technician chants echoed throughout the venue in darkness. Once the explosion sound effect hit, it was on. The large projector screen in the middle of the stage illuminated and played a short film made specifically for the tour. It showed Tech N9ne and Krizz Kaliko being abducted by a radical rebel group and placed in cages with jumpsuits clothed on their bodies along side a few other Strange Music artist. Throughout the short film, Tech and Krizz worked a plan to escape with by overpowering guards, and as they exited the screen, Tech N9ne appeared on stage. He started the show with “Am I a Psycho”, and track featuring Hopsin and B.O.B, very fitting for Halloween night. Next was the Tech N9ne salute “Stamina” a song where he rapped to the sound of an automatic Tech 9 machine gun going off in the background whilst lyrically murdering the listeners. Stamina ended with the infamous explosion sound and Tech went into “Planet Rock 2k”, one of his earlier anthems for the veteran fans and left the stage in darkness and full of smoke. The Independent Grind film resumed showing Krizz Kaliko then taking out another security guard for the rebel captors. The short action scene transitioned to Krizz Kaliko hitting the stage performing his own opener in his verse for Tech’s “Strange Music Box”. After the grand entrance made by Tech and Kaliko, the artist immediately set up the room up for Technicians favorite part of the show. Distorted guitar riffs filled the room as “Riot Maker”, Tech N9ne’s mosh pit anthem began to play. The large center screen started flashing the word “Mosh” as if it were mandatory. Within seconds the pit started and costumed maniacs started to do what they do best, throw themselves around in a violent manner. I couldn’t help myself and felt obliged to join.
Hit after hit played from the independent titan’s catalog, from his iconic songs with Eminem and Kendrick Lamer to his chart toppers and fan favorites. Historically, Tech N9ne shows are known for having a section where women hop on shoulders and flash the audience but has since discontinued due to legal incidents from prior concerts. That however did not prevent the crowd from creating their own tit-flashing moments even though Tech wouldn’t play his classic record “Areola”. Instead, Technicians started chanting the chorus phrase “OOOH AREOLA” until Tech recognized it and before we knew it, there were sightings throughout the venue of shoulder raised, bare chested women partaking in the Tech N9ne tradition. From then on, Tech and his co-star Krizz Kaliko bounced back and forth performing their most notable records and keeping the crowd entertained with witty banter between songs. By the end of the show I was completely drenched, I was without Tech’s beer, Bou Lou, but I was more than satisfied as a fan and as a critic. For an all ages show, the concert turned out to be a lot more unadulterated than one would expect. Fanatical concert goers left the venue still chanting “KC-MO” and “Oooh Areola” all the way to their cars. Whether it was the short film made for the show, the moshing, the boobs, or all of the above, Tech N9ne’s Independent Grind Concert on Halloween takes the cake for 2018’s show of the year!
Video Link to the Live Show: Watch