'An intimate venue, a vernacular sound, and an honest pride in the art that calls home to the same place as the audience is hard to beat'
Evan Dale // May 21, 2019
Taking in the sunset and the some of the first truly warm weather of the Colorado Springtime, I’m perched on a familiar patio with familiar friends drinking familiar bourbon. Life is good and is about to get better with a local hip-hop group turned group of friends – Low Hanging Fruit - headlining a show tonight at Boulder’s Fox Theater. The venue is a storied one, highlighted by high-energy performances and a young, unapologetically rambunctious crowd. It’s the perfect spot for a group like this to get the love and elicit the response their uniquely bold take on hip-hop asks of its listeners.
Halfway through our meal and a third of the way through our bourbon, a kind, unkind kind of man of God approaches our table with a country western accent in an effort to politely spurge our Creative Director’s tee shirt.
Christian Sex Club reads the shirt.
‘My wife doesn’t like that’, says the man.
And then we go back to our bourbon.
It’s the kind of interaction we’ve grown used to, as unexpectedly as it happens in Boulder, and as surprising as it is that someone could be offended by a well-established brand name. It’s also the perfect kind of interaction to precede a rap show, where fans of debauchery and derogatory antics are nearly always more open and accepting than any fashion-hating man of God.
We consider it a blessing, order another round of single barrel then head on our way.
In typical fashion of any event hosting any artist of any size, there is confusion at the door when we request our press credentials, but seven security employees and a few texts to Low Hanging Fruit later, we’re inside for sound check.
Trip and Soup du Jour – the two primary lyricists of Low Hanging Fruit – are posted up on stage with their usual laid-back energies. Though both have a tendency to bring the tempo, the cadence, and the volume with their music, there is something permanently nonchalant about their natural demeanors. Maybe it’s the liberal Colorado laws. Maybe it’s just their preferred mental shape. But both are calm, collected, yet ready to start a riot.
We head downstairs to the green room, take in a stern speech from the head of security, and make the rounds of introductions. Soon, a few bottles make their way downstairs, a number of beers get cracked, and the room starts to fill with plumes of smoke.
‘Can I match you?’ Asks our photographer, offering a handful of blunts to the couch full of hip-hop artists.
‘Prolly not’, replies the couch. ‘The show’s being sponsored by a dispensary. Just smoke ours.’
And so, we do.
In due time, word starts to spread about the openers. First, a group of local high school lyricists who brought their friends in tow. Once we hear the volume their classmates are bringing to the theater, we sneak upstairs behind the shadow of backstage to get a glimpse. Youthful, derogatory, and violent. The perfect start.
Next, two sets of further local hip-hop acts grace the stage, subsequently turning the volume and the energy higher with each performance. The crowd is primed, the intermission DJ is playing solely the well-established crowd-pleasers that any good rap show intermission calls for, and we head on stage to capture the building’s energy.
It’s hard to argue that any show is non-reliant on the atmosphere delineated by the audience, but at a hip-hop show in particular, audience is key, interactions are necessary, and the general vibe must be ready to pop off the second the headliner walks on stage. This show has been rightfully led-in, and the mostly full Fox Theater is brimming with tension and energy.
As Low Hanging Fruit make their way stageward, the small world that the theater has become tilts its axis. Screams make it feel like a sold-out show, local pride keeps the volume fixed at its peak, and the antics and energy that the hip-hop crew bring from the very start are undeniable.
Trip pulls a pineapple from his designer backpack in honor of his band’s moniker. No room has ever been so excited about produce. As if everyone in the show knows what the gesture means, the crowd turns it up another level and the music instantly begins.
Split by a brief intermission, Low Hanging Fruit deliver a two-part show fit with outfit changes and changes of vibe. Part one features the hyphy, melodic bangers that continue the energy levels set by the openers. The crowd matches the energy and is polished off by another proper intermittent DJ set of hits. Post intermission, part two features more of Low Hanging Fruit’s subdued, lyrically-angular, emotionally-evoking deliveries that granted their latest project, Way Up, a particular duality and balance. The crowd is drawn in by the emotionality, and like a cool-down to a workout, departs the Fox Theater at peace of mind and at peace with the magic that a local hip-hop show is able to bring to a community. An intimate venue, a vernacular sound, and an honest pride in the art that calls home to the same place as the audience is hard to be beaten.
It goes both ways. Any artist, no matter how grand they grow, will always pay favor to the days when they were able to play shows for the place where it all started. Tonight was one of those nights, and in a place like Colorado with a growing, but still very small hip-hop scene, nights like these are few and far between.
A few final handshakes in the green room, congratulations and thanks paid to Low Hanging Fruit for making everything happen, and a cold walk to our car, we call it a night.