Brendan Kergin, Arts & Entertainment Editor Ω
Whistler may not be New York City, but it doesn’t mean there’s no hip-hop community in the mountainside town. In fact, it has a whole nation, which came to Heroes on Oct. 17, another show in the Live Music Wednesday event series.
The trio going by the name Animal Nation planted their flag at the Campus Activity Centre, but first had a couple friends take the stage. Actually, Animal Nation’s guitarist Jeffery Waters took the stage first for a couple of warm-up tracks, including a ukulele-based Nate Dogg tribute cover of “Regulate” and a few original folksy-hip-hop pieces not dissimilar to Jason Mraz.
DJ Rob Banks took over for a bit, solo on the turntables before MC Lozen took the stage for a longer set of original ’90s-esque hip-hop with a skater flair.
The headliners took the stage as a trio, with Waters on guitar, Steige (Tall Man) Turner and Mike (Armadillo Slim) Armitage. While the earlier sets had been a little subdued due to the lack of attendance (maybe 30 attended at the peak), Tall Man and Armadillo Slim were able to pump a lot more energy into the room. Switching between straight vocalist, an acoustic guitar and a drum machine, Tall Man tended to be the focal point while Armadillo Slim hid behind the turntables a little more, but when the beat was set Slim would jump out with big energy. Together they had a friendly, loose style, a little bit rowdy at times, balanced with a relaxed attitude.
The style of music lent itself to the personalities on stage as well – bouncy and fun loving verses for the most part. The set included tracks about being locked in a zoo (“Party Animals”) and bacon (“Bacon and Eggs”). For the most part they played the slightly goofy jokesters, not a parody band, but a group looking to have fun no matter the location.
At the same time a couple tracks, like “Wooden Roller Coaster,” which have a heartfelt core, add dimension to the group. The overall sound was a throwback in some ways to the DJ and sampling (of which they had a good-sized selection) which was more common in the ’90s.
With a few friends in the crowd to play up to, including one with spectacular a standing flip, and some b-girl moves from MC Lozen, Animal Nation provided a unique and in some ways, a very Whistler sound.