When Ghost Town Gang puts on a hip-hop show at The Hoosier Dome, it's like going to a mini music festival for an evening of beats and banter. With sets that run no more than 20 minutes each and a list of performers requiring more than one hand to count on, the local hip-hop collective constructs their shows to be fast-paced, energetic and highly interactive.
Last Saturday, John Stamps and Sirius Blvck headlined The Hoosier Dome, celebrating the release of their newest projects Peaces and Midnight Musik respectively. Sirius Blvck performed with his usual intensity, but managed to really find his groove on Midnight Musik's standout track "Do It Right." The two-and-a-half minute song's soulful samples created a bouncy, heartening landscape that was more jovial and carefree than Blvck's typical punchy beats. Other notable tracks included "Party Till The Sun" (which could easily be the Ghost Town Gang anthem) and Midnight Musik's title track that closes the album with three notable features, which translated to a live setting with relative success. To my pleasant surprise, Boss L rapped with language much less profane than his solo work, John Stamps gave a solid shout to his side roots, and Peteyboy delivered a deep message about life- although his apprehensive vocals were too faint for the microphone to pick up and much of his verse was inaudible.
Grizz, another solo artist from the Ghost Town Gang, took an early 9 p.m. slot, but his efforts were not wasted on an empty room. He opened with "The Narrative" over a minimal beat that left his calmly paced rhymes transparent and vulnerable to slip-ups, but rapped his way through without a single error. After the applause subsided and Grizz acknowledged the song's candor, he announced, "Now I'm gonna play some slightly ignorant shit... but I need you to dance." Additional highlights included an audience-assisted chorus on "Ray Liotta (Fuck You, Pay Me)," a wildly energetic cameo from 19 year-old E Jaaz, and a closing track with Sirius Blvck so freshly written he had to review his verse before they began. "We just wrote this today. No chorus, just bars," Grizz calmly replied when someone called out Blvck for peeking at notes on his phone.
A short, simple tweet from Katrina Biddy summed up the night best: Ghost Town took us to church. And if Ghost Town took us to church, then One Conway was the sermon's pastor. Recovering from a recent computer crash, he was forced to perform dated mixtape material, but nobody seemed to be bothered by that. He opened with a scrupulous track about life in the streets, demanding full attention with striking vocal inflection and a true display of channeled emotion. He prefaced a bellicose "shut up, ho" track with a disclaimer stating that every man has felt this way about a woman at some point in his life. Simply put- One Conway is the truth. With no gimmicks or futile lyrical matter, his game is authentic, commendable, and unquestionably worth your time.
As is most of the rest of The Ghost Town Gang's members. Be on the lookout for Grizz's mixtape dropping in early January. Grab One Conway's forthcoming mixtape Remove Music. Catch the crew live this Friday at The White Rabbit Cabaret for A Night of Beats and Burlesque. And definitely keep your eye on the mastermind behind Ghost Town Gang, Sirius Blvck. Of his near-future plans, the young wordsmith says, "I'll do another EP, then I'm chillin' out to focus on the Indiana City Weather Record."