Truthmaze and Chastity Brown at 400 Bar on 2/7/08
By: Jon Behm
Another sparsely attended night in the 400 Bar. Another great show. Honestly it's a mystery to me why this continually happens in a city with such a vibrant music scene. In this case it was local hip hop/spoken word artist Truthmaze, with Tennessean transplant Chastity Brown as the opener. If you aren't kicking yourself for missing this show, give yourself a good swift boot.
Chastity Brown started off the evening with an endorsement of her "energydrink," Jameson Whiskey, while holding a glass of the ambrosia in her hand. I wholeheartedly support that sentiment and double it, with rocks! Brown then proceeded to deliver a set of intensely personal, hauntingly beautiful songs with the help of bassist Don Strong and drummer Michael Johnson. While she has a voice similar to Jill Scott's, Brown also has distinct folk/country twang. This shows up in the overall sound more when she is on the acoustic as opposed to the piano, but is an underlying pleasure throughout the course of all of her songs.
While what immediately struck me was this young lady's gorgeous vocals, I was also taken aback by how much trust she put in the audience. Like we were all a bunch of old friends, she opened up all of her pains and sorrows to us, she shed a few tears, and never seemed to hold anything back. The highly emotional "Happy Sunday," was especially a treat, as she had only performed it live a total of five times in five years. I'm not sure what caused her to confide in us to the extent she did, but I was grateful for the intimacy of the performance.
Truthmaze, one of the most talented members of the local Tru Ruts collaborative group, gave props to Brown as he took the stage next. One of the "original b-boys of Minnesota," Truth has been performing his blend of hip hop and spoken word for some time in the Cities. His style ranges from African and Reggae influenced rhythms (the fantastic "Dat Rhythm,") to more politically inspired commentary ("North Side Blues Song"). At different times he conjured both Gil Scott Heron and KRS One, though his style is still uniquely his own. Where much political hip hop can be angry and jaded, Truthmaze's message seems to concentrate more on hope and equality. Backing him were the two other members of his new band, Dameun Strange on the keyboard and Maleck Davis on drums.
At one point two other talented members of the Tru Ruts stable, El Guante and See More Perspective took the stage to beatbox and rhyme alongside Truth for a few songs. Perspective is a beatbox machine, but also showed us some of his lyrical side, while Guante brought a fiery energy to the stage as well.
All too soon we reached the end of the night, and Truthmaze and company left the 400's stage. It felt as if these modern day street prophets had a great deal more to say, but were perhaps limited by the bar's time constraints. It doesn't bother me a bit though, as it just makes me eager to see what else they will have to say at future performances. If you are a hip hop, spoken word or even just an all around music fan, any one of these guys is worth checking out on your own.
Check out the article here: HowWasTheShow.com