Weak sauce

Party foul: When the crew of hip-hop artists known as ZFG works with kids in the community, they say the name stands for “Zero Forbidden Goals.” But to others, they say “Zero Fucks Given.”

The latter definition became especially apparent last week at the release show for their first compilation, 8:08. Stones Throw Records’ Homeboy Sandman came from New York to headline—and drew serious buzz for the event—with nerd rappers Mega Ran and Richie Branson in tow. But the ZFG crew treated its set like its own personal, inside joke-filled party instead of just one part of a massive bill. Much worse, most of them bailed right after and took their friends with them, leaving Sol Collective barren for the rappers still on deck. 

ZFG’s set started out with dancing—that is, with a few rappers grooving on and around the stage for an abnormal length of time. Those in attendance for any of the non-ZFG artists stood confused, immediately alienated and groaning. The message may have been inadvertent, but the self-hype made it clear: ZFG is a super-tight clique and it doesn’t care what you think. 

That doesn’t mean the set didn’t hold its impressive moments—the crew is, after all, chock full of talent. Sammie Artist of the Year nominee Cam crafted on-the-spot bars based off wallets, cough drops, tampons and whatever else people pulled out of their pockets. Fellow Sammie nominee SpaceWalker built a dope soundscape out of breathy ahhs and beatboxing. Emcees Aerial and Paul Willis brought serious energy and confident stage presence. 

Now, being an album release and whatnot, ZFG had every right to celebrate and be excited and even act cocky. It’s the following action that made the whole set feel problematic: leaving. You don’t perform and immediately ditch, no matter the genre. You stick around and support your fellow artists, and you encourage all your fans to do the same.

Mega Ran actually invited Cam on stage, impressed by the local’s freestyling skills. When he realized Cam had rapped and bounced, he lectured the absent emcee from afar. Since Cam wasn’t there, I’ll deliver the message: “Tell him I say that’s weak.”

Zero Fucks Given?

—Janelle Bitker

Opening assault: Starlite Lounge promoter Chris Lemos has an uphill battle booking local acts in Sacramento. Apparently, nobody wants to headline and nearly just as many don’t want to open. However, when national acts come to town, there is suddenly no shortage of groups vying to get on any slot. Of course, this is when Lemos gets to really exert his booking power.

Last Tuesday’s show with Act Of Defiance (former members of Megadeth and Shadows Fall) featured two local acts that, although totally different in sound and scope, worked alarmingly well together.

New(er) Sacramento quintet Odious Construct kicked off the night with a heady blend of progressive metalcore. And while the band’s early start time of 8 p.m. meant playing to only 30 or so people, by the end of the set, singer Casey Ryle and his able band found themselves playing in front of nearly double that number.

Most exciting was the dual guitar assault of Wes Yee and Ben Jackson, who weaved an astounding amount of guitar showmanship into their all-too-brief set. Also equally impressive was the rhythm section featuring drummer KC Brand and bassist Sam Datu, which played together at breakneck speed with wicked precision.

Up next was Vacaville’s West Coast Fury who, although by the logo and band appearance might be mistaken for a hardcore band, played a furious set steeped in ’80s thrash fare. Led by vocalist-guitarist Pat Woods, the group ripped through a set that recalled some of the best moments of the early San Francisco thrash scene. In fact, unbeknownst to many in the crowd, the band featured members of Torment, Malicious Intent, Blind Illusion, Piranha, Franzlist and Skeptic, all active Bay Area bands from the ’80s and ’90s. So there you go.

—Eddie Jorgensen