Improvisation is an essential skill for any touring musician. And not just improvisation in concern to the actual music, but the ability to navigate above sound problems, venue overcrowding, internal band strife, and personal issues that can disrupt a shows performance. Reflection Eternal showed their resolve in doing the aforementioned at their June Atlanta tour stop, where the accomplished group was forced to perform under near unbearable heat due to a faulty air system.
Well-known local emcee Senor Kaos (http://thekaoseffect.com/blog/) opened the show with material from his two projects (Swagger Is Nothing, Talent Is Everything and Walk Softly & Carry A Big Brick). Many were not familiar with the young emcee, and were treated to creative tracks like Girls Rock Too and Call Me Senor. The former is a womens tribute that name checks legends like Harriett Tubman and Madam CJ Walker, while the latter is a highly melodic gem from DJ Spinnas enjoyable Sonic Smash (2009) LP. His robust energy set a strong template for the remainder of the night.
While waiting for the headliners, the heat began to visibly sap the energy from the crowd, and presented a potential health hazard as fans were piled on top of each other. The Loft venue representatives did their best to alleviate the stress by passing out dozens of water bottles to ensure no ones night would be ended prematurely.
Reflection Eternal jokingly lamented the heat conditions and strengthened everyones energy with In This World, and Strangers (Paranoid), off the newly released Revolutions Per Minute. Even though the duo have just two studio albums together, their sizable solo and outside collaborative projects easily allowed them to exceed a hour on stage. Kweli delighted grassroots fans with selections from the timeless Black Star album (Redefinition, Respiration). Instead of simply rhyming his portions, Kweli rapped his partner Mos Defs rhymes to give fans the full song experience. Occasionally he slipped up and fans gladly chimed in to finish the hanging couplets. Hi-Tek was not to be undone, digging into his Hi-Tecknology series for Music for Life, The Sun God and outside production credits like Games Runnin.
The one surprise guest of the evening was early 90s NY rapper Special Ed, who performed his classic single I Got Made. The intimate setting of the venue added special ambiance to the reflective, jazz-infused Memories Live and the politically driven Ballad of the Black Gold.
Reflection Eternal finished up with their biggest single in The Blast. Hi-Tek stepped from behind the boards to trade verses and play hypeman with Kweli. By the songs end, everyone was clapping in rhythm to the songs production while singing the refrain of keep on dancing, you gotta keep on dancing.
Reflection Eternals quality material shined through venues less than ideal conditions, making the duo a wise future investment for Hip-Hop concert aficionados.
"Slow Down (Ha Ha) Freestyle"