Vokab Company, My Dad Bruce: March 19th at the Wild Buffalo
By Patrick Wakefield
Stepping into a scantly populated Wild Buffalo, Monday, March 19, from the chilled fingers of a nearly-Spring night, I had no idea what to expect. The laconic bouncer’s face was wearing a weary scowl. The sort of frayed gaze one gets when they are told to work but there’s no work to do. Maybe six people filled the bar. The dance floor was completely absent of any human vestige. The only motion present was the constant repetitive roam of multicolored disco lights. Flashing and rotating. Flashing and rotating.
The stage, while replete with gear for music making, displayed no hint or sign of any sort of musician. With the doors opening at 8:00pm and music scheduled to begin roughly a half an hour from thence, I was curiously bemused at the barren nature of the place. Taking a seat at a table somewhat near the stage I waited and surveyed my surroundings as my expectations for the evening began to diminish. They could not have been more wrong.
At about 10:30 a trio of hooded figures, lively jouncing about, entered from the street and made for the bar. The entertainment had arrived. After a bit of finagling with a laptop the speakers, clicked on with a shallow fuzzy thud. The patrons of the bar – now a few figures plussed – began to assemble at the nape of the dance floor in anticipation at the motions of the recently arrived musical talent.
Introducing themselves as My Dad Bruce, the group was comprised of Julian “Adjectives” Friedman, “Jesus” Chris Willis, and Michael Harris. Assessing themselves verbally as being three R. Kelly’s they kicked their portion of the show into gear. Busting out rhymes in rapid succession were Friedman and Willis, while Harris crooned in the background. The audience began to infiltrate the once lonesome dance floor and started to bounce and jiggle at the fresh beats pouring of the threesome on stage. Though no set list was shared with those in attendance we were informed that we were treated to new material. The contents of which were rhythm and blues as channeled by a Boyz II Men type of charisma. Sweating from their rumpus, My Dad Bruce thanked those who made it out on a Monday night and noted a few familiar faces in the audience.
What rolled out next, in the form of San Diego’s techno-hip-hop sensation Vokab Kompany, could only be described as epic. A seven-piece ensemble, including a violinist, the Vokab Kompany ripped into the static air between attractions with an ethereal, yet electric, instrumental. Effectively snaring those gathered there that night, the Vokab Kompany gave a short intro and thanked My Dad Bruce for starting off the evening. Reeling off a set that featured blistering lyricism, riffs from a synth keyboard, and two violin solos, the Vokab Kompany thrust everyone into a mad boogie. Their power was undeniable.
The level of excellent performances that evening, far surpassed my assumptions at its slow outset. All present seemed to share my surprise at this amazing display of awesome music and production. An unexpected and splendid evening was much welcomed by everyone who attended. Filing back out into the crisp embrace of night, every face was enamored with a knowing smile.