Foodie rap and werewolves

Rap cuisine: Action Bronson is known as a “foodie rapper,” a former chef from Queens who rolled into South by Southwest in Austin via food truck. When Bronson made a stop at Ace of Spades last Monday night, the 31-year-old demonstrated great verbal agility, with the audience eating out of the palm of his hand.

Many in the fairly large crowd knew the words to his songs, but it was still a pleasant surprise to this writer when he adorned his lyrics with phrases about “seasonal vegetables” or quipped that a “Caddy got the brown on top, just like creme brûlée.”

It didn’t hurt that Bronson had producer The Alchemist (Dilated Peoples, Eminem) running the turntables at the show and revving up the crowd before Bronson hit the stage. Big Body Bes, the rapper’s longtime comedy foil who co-stars on Bronson’s popular show on Vice’s Munchies channel called Fuck, That’s Delicious, came out and got wild for a couple of songs as well. Just like a fiery stir fry.

Epic metal: After the Apocalyptica show at Ace of Spades last Thursday night, people on the streets were actually discussing the opener, local symphonic metal band Graveshadow.

The conversation centered on Graveshadow’s lyrical content—there was talk of Anne Rice novels, science fiction and fantasy onstage during the evening’s set—and the talk essentially went like this: “Werewolves? I’m in!”

Thus, it was a good night for the Sacramento group, which played a high-energy 40-minute set before the headliner took over. Vocalist Heather Smith and bassist Ben Armstrong bounced all over while guitarists Matt Mitchell and William Walker led a balanced guitar attack. Keyboardist Valerie Hudak deftly straddled between two sets of keys, thrashing her head wildly all the while.

By the time the Finnish masters of cello metal prepared to take the stage, Ace of Spades was packed to near capacity. The members of Apocalyptica cut their teeth on Metallica songs while still young lads studying classical music at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki. The ensuing album Plays Metallica by Four Cellos became an international sensation and the group has continued to tour and record around the world, playing a mix of hits from metal bands and its own classical compositions.

On this particular night, the core three cellists of the five-piece group were the center of the show. Perttu Kivilaasko, in particular, held his own on some speed-metal cello soloing.

But it wasn’t cellos or Metallica that folks talked about on R Street after the gig. It was werewolves.

—Paul Piazza

Woah there: Portland’s Lost Lander breezed through LowBrau last Tuesday night. A free show is always a treat, but especially so when you know people in Grass Valley spent $12 to see the same band just a few days later.

Lost Lander is on a California tour supporting its newest album, Medallion, a collection of indie pop and alternative dreamy rock with hints of new wave. There’s lots of cool, interesting synth, percussion and brass going on, though in LowBrau’s acoustically challenging room, we pretty much only got to appreciate the drums and keys. And while appreciate we did, Lost Lander’s three-part “Woaaaahhhs” and other cheerful, upbeat harmonies grew tiresome. Ah, adorable indie trends, how you get stale so fast.

Take a listen to the band’s single “Walk on a Wire” on SoundCloud and decide if you’d rather pay $12 to see Lost Lander in a more legit venue next time around.

Open mic moves: About a week after local press stopped covering #TheMostOpenMicInTheCity, police officers started dropping by instead. The spoken word poetry-driven open mic started out as a flash mob and moved to Cesar Chavez Plaza earlier this year, but starting last month, police began telling the artists they couldn’t loiter in the park after dark. It’s against city code.

At first, the open mic regulars defiantly stayed put, but last weekend they moved to a new time “in order to keep the peace,” according to an announcement on Facebook.

No longer will you find the crew Monday nights at 8:08 p.m., but on Saturdays at 1 p.m. instead. Organizers noted it’ll also be easier on folks with kids and for those taking public transportation now. Another bonus: it’ll be more likely to stop the casual person walking by, because there will actually be people walking by.

—Janelle Bitker