by Brittany Rotondo
On a cool, damp Friday night at The World Cafe Live, the energy is palpable. Seems Mother Nature couldn’t stall this sold out crowd even if she tried.
Opening the set is multi-talented rapper and spoken word poet, Kuf Knotz. Originally from New York, the Philly local has paid his dues above and beyond, and it’s obvious. He’s shared stages with the likes of Common, The New York Dolls and the Boss himself, Bruce Springsteen. Just to name a few. In 2008 Kuf and other top notch local musicians, G. Love and Chuck Treece, collaborated on what was to become the official song of World Series Champions, The Philadelphia Phillies. I believe it’s safe to say he’s on the road to something great.
As the crowd closes in, Kuf steps up to the mic. The evening is completely and vividly ignited as he and ensemble, otherwise known as “The Grand Lux” (including singer Dave Vegas and DJ Golden Spiral) drop the first tune. Like Dubstep meets the downbeat. Like a moth to flame. His 45 minute set consisted of songs off his latest LP, Boombox Logic, that dropped October 2011. What Kuf and The Grand Lux created this night was an auditory soundwave, filled of raw power, blasted with reggae undertones and a genuine soulfulness. They’ve captured an audience more than eager to listen.
You can catch him next, in his many worlds of words, January 25th at The Rebel Rock Bar on 100 Spring Garden Street. In the meantime, check out KufKnotz.com. I’ll leave you with this friends, from the depths of New York to the streets of Philadelphia, in his own words: “It feels good to be free.” And the experience of watching Kuf and company, was most certainly freeing.
Headlining the night, the incomparably electric Minnesota native, Dessa. You wouldn’t think it by looking at her solely, but this fiery female rapper, singer, producer AND author, is a lyrical deviant. Backed by a 4-piece classically trained band, Dessa played songs from her latest and highly recommended album, Castor, The Twin released in early 2011.
As if the night couldn’t have gotten any better, she ripped through a set as eclectic as you could imagine. Bouncing from hip hop to soul to straightforward slam poetry. A moment of clarity in the sold out sea of fans as the band quiets down and the lights dim. She breaks into, “The Crow”, off of her first official full length album, A Badly Broken Code. The song is an emotional hue from the indie rapper’s heart with lyrics like, “Nobody fears the height, you all just fear the fall. Go to the edge sometime, and prove your body wrong.”.
The adoring fans and friends alike at The World Cafe Live were willing to fall with her and pick up the pieces. And I was too.