Audio Recon has been running a weekly showcase at Locals Only for quite some time now. Even with a $15 cover, Last night's Recon Wednesday saw one of its biggest turnouts since the event’s launch to see Brooklyn-born emcee AZ, a long-time rhyme partner to Nas and, according to About.com, the #1 most underrated rapper. An undeniable legend in the rapping community, AZ drew a crowd heavily peppered with local hip-hop celebrities, including six of the seven members of Indy’s emcee super group Tornado Alley. It was that group that I really came to see.
Around 10:30, the men of Tornado Alley took stage: Rusty Redenbacher, aka “The Dreadlocker”; 2009 and 2010 Heavy Gun Beat Battle winner F.I.R.E.; Mr. Kinetik; Son of Thought; and E Dot Spencer. (A. SkyWalker, the 7th member of Tornado Allety, was not able to attend.) The 45-minute set opened a group feature, “Funnel Clouds (tornado alley)”, before moving a series of mini-sets. Considering that six emcees were gathered on a single stage, each holding on to his own microphone, the group effort was remarkably tight and polished.
As the cast of characters rotated through their songs, there were obvious high points; my favorites included the extra be-boppy and jubilant “Mumia Abu (Stir it Up)”, performed by Rusty Redenbacher and Mr. Kinetik, as well as “Phresh & Fly”, performed by the enthusiastic and charismatic alpha.live and E.Spencer. But the shining stars of Tornado Alley’s set were unquestionably F.I.R.E. and Son of Thought. Their first song (appropriately titled “Son & F.I.R.E. Esquire”) blasted a bass-heavy and hard-bumping beat. F.I.R.E., a gentle giant best known locally for his work as a producer, impressed with articulate delivery and animated, passionate gesticulations. His and Son of Thought’s performance instantly filled my Twitter feed with kudos and props from peers and admirers alike - all, of course, for damn good reason.
Tornado Alley’s #ATFU Vol. 1 CD (comprised of 13 songs featuring various pairings of the Alley) is currently available at LUNA Music & Indy CD & Vinyl.
Their next performance is one you won't want to miss. Tornado Alley, Jaecyn Bayne, and The Native Sun Band open for Detroit emcee Black Milk at The Jazz Kitchen on Wednesday, March 23.