GMG - Las Vegas Weekly

September 4, 2014

Las Vegas Weekly

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A& E | NOISE 48 LASVEGASWEEKLY.COM SEPTEMBER 410, 2014 A L B U M | LO C A L MASSIVE ACHIEVEMENT Vegas rapper Hassan takes another big step with Awesome This is the irst time in his recorded career that Hassan Hamilton is more than just big. He's always been the big guy on the mic. But now he's made of himself a colossus. From the get-go, with "Test Me," he turns a simple chorus into the clawed foot of a monster, the cinderblocks of his goofy reputation leveled beneath his words. It's in no small part thanks to producer Profes- sor Def, going as Neverending Story as he does Z-grade science iction with his samples, its fruition an eerie twilight zone of dark sounds and distorted drums over which the throaty cut of Hassan's voice holds court. ¶ This is not the Hassan of Menace to Sobriety, his last release. This Hassan has been kicked too many times to stay down, and it's time to speak up. It isn't always poignant—"Sausage Fest" carries his lubricious reputation into the second half of the record since it is, still, a Hassan album—but it always hits dead center with the delivery of a decorated late-night-freestyle general. The col- laboration with Def, and newfound support among the Brain Jelly music family, gave Fat, Black & Awesome the stones it needed to be a massive, magniicent tirade. And Hassan's fans, green and veteran, are aurally reaping the beneits. –Max Plenke aaaac HASSAN Fat, Black & Awesome Kicking off his latest tour this week in support of his new LP, Self Made Man, local Americana rocker Jack Evan Johnson is no stranger to life on the road. Solo acoustic-punk singer Bobby Meader, (who goes by Bobby Meader Music), is already on the move, probably somewhere between Denver and Omaha when you read this. We chatted with both before they took to the asphalt, focusing on touring—hellacious scheduling, road essentials and how to make ends meet. The schedule: (BM) "I think it's close to 50 shows, maybe 49, I lost track." (JEJ) "It's essentially a two-week tour. The venue in Portland just burned down, so we're trying to make up that date." Tour essentials: (BM) "Baby wipes, laptop, head- phones. If I don't have head- phones I can't watch Netfl ix, and then what are you gonna do?" (JEJ) "Bandmates that you get along with. You're only onstage one hour of the day, and you gotta spend the other 23 hours with a group of people for weeks on end." Tour economics: (BM) "You get better at negotiating, and when someone tries to f *ck with you, you have to be like, 'Nope.' Being able to do that ensures you don't get screwed over." (JEJ) "You try to book a tour with a hand- ful of dates where you know you're gonna be making some money. Some of the other shows have door deals, and that's a little risky. At this level it's really hard to get guarantees at every tour stop, but you try to get as much as you can, so you know you're not risking being totally broke." Road life: (JEJ) "There's no better job than drinking beer with your friends and playing guitar every night and meeting new people. Being a musi- cian is a conversation between you and the observer, [and] playing to a new group of people every night is the only way for that to reach its full potential." Future tour goals: (BM) "It'd be cool to tour less but have them be better tours where people are showing up more. That happens a lot faster when you're on a bigger label, [and] the only way to really get on those labels is to tour a lot and get people interact- ing on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. I'm pretty sure I can do that in the next two years if I just continue doing what I'm doing now." The eye opener: (JEJ) "Living here, you almost believe that club culture is mainstream. You get out on the road, especially to some of these places in the Midwest and you realize rock music is still king." The best thing about touring: (BM) "Eating. I eat really well on tour, because I'm making money. I'm a big breakfast guy, so trying all these different breakfast spots around the nation is the most fun." –Leslie Ventura L O C A L S C E N E ROAD TRIPPIN' Local musicians Jack Evan Johnson and Bobby Meader talk touring as they head back out > ON THE ROAD AGAIN Jack Evan Johnson and Bobby Meader, below, are in full tour mode. you get along with. You're only onstage one hour of the day, and you gotta spend the other 23 hours with a group of people for weeks on end." (BM) "You get better at negotiating, and when someone tries to f *ck with you, you have to be like, 'Nope.' Being able to do that ensures you don't get screwed over." (JEJ) "You try to book a tour with a hand- ful of dates where you know you're gonna be making some money. Some of the other shows have door deals, and that's a little risky. At this level it's really hard to get guarantees at every tour stop, but you try to get as much as you can, so you know Road life: (JEJ) "There's no better job than drinking beer with your friends and playing guitar every night and meeting new people. Being a musi- cian is a conversation between you and the observer, [and] playing to a new group of people every night is the only way for that to reach its full potential." Future tour goals: (BM) "It'd be cool to tour less but have them be better tours where people are showing up JACK EVAN JOHNSON kicks o his tour at Bunkhouse September 5. face- book.com/jackev- anjohnsonsongs BOBBY MEADER ends his tour at Artistic Armory October 16. bobby- meadermusic.com

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