Written & Photography by Andrew Mangum
There was a lot of “buzz” in the air surrounding the Baltimore IndieFest event that took place last week on May 30th, 2014. An event advocating outstanding independent music, film, art, business and ideas that seemed to rely heavier on the music than the film, art and business side of things. Hosted at the 8×10 in the Federal Hill neighborhood of Baltimore, the event featured a lot of up and coming acts from the city. With the collective power of the people, the intent of this event was to clearly shift the attention from the negative Baltimore stigma and show a world where there is a lot of good going on.
Hosted by Civ Jones, Baltimore radio personality (most notably Magic 95.9), kept the event running in a timely manner, while also taking some time to pump up the crowd. The first act taking the stage for Baltimore IndieFest highlighted the master lyricist Eze Jackson and the uniquely, talented producer and musician, Wendel Patrick. Eze got the crowd into the show right from the start, jumping into the audience and dancing around with one person in particular, who I later learned was his wife. You could tell by the ear to ear grin on Wendel’s face that these two were having a blast performing. My favorite moment came during the performance of “Nosetalgia” where Wendel started mixing the live microphone, controlling the tempo and pitch of Eze’s voice. Bringing his voice to an almost complete stop, the slowness of the lyrics, and deepness of his timbre put the crowd into a hypnotic state, bobbing back and forth. Watching Wendel and Eze perform was something special. These are two tremendously talented guys who really know how to put on an entertaining, and thought provoking performance.
After Eze and Wendel got the crowd completely into the concert, Kissi B was up next, backed by her band, That Dude Named Jimmy. Very quickly all of the women in the place made their way up to the front of the stage. Kissi B has a very sensual way of performing, engaging everyone in the audience and making sure to reach deep into their soul to make them feel an orgasmic melody that resonates from her sweetly, raspy voice. Playing her own songs that all seemed to be a crowd favorite, she also mixed in a great rendition of Erykah Badu’s, “Bag Lady”. The band, That Dude Named Jimmy, was always on point backing up Kissi and filling in to keep the energy level at the highest level possible. With the sweat continuously dripping down her face, you could tell that Kissi was putting everything of herself into her performance. So while the stack of napkins used to wipe the sweat from her brow dwindled down, so did her set.
Greenspan was very nervous about the show. Not the kind of nervous concerned about performing, but a nervous tension sitting on his shoulders to ensure the night went perfect. Backstage you could see him keeping order, keeping people from cluttering the hallways. Tensions were high, and Greenspan wanted to make sure this event was flawless. With all of that weight on his shoulders, and the added stress, Greenspan still came on stage and delivered his set with high energy and complete accuracy. He played a lot of hits from his new album “STRWY2HVN,” which just might be the best Album out of Baltimore for this year.
Tonight was another special night for Green because he was able to perform his song “Free” for his cousin LorFal. “Free” is a song that Green wrote about his incarcerated family members. The chorus goes; “Free. Free. Free. Free LorFal, Bino, and Shitty. Free LorFal, Bino, and Shitty. I write a verse full of freedom and tell my people get with me.” Tonight his people were with him. LorFal was in the audience this evening watching in awe as this was the first time he had ever heard the song “Free”.