By: GEOFF LESAR
South Bend hip-hop collective The B.E.A.T. is making waves and doing its part in the rise of the “Third Coast” through their hosting of the monthly No. Coast Social concert series.
“We’ve seen it in Cincinnati, where people have these monthly shows and they’re really pumped about it,” said Eli Kahn, a seven-string guitarist/keyboardist and 2010 IU South Bend alum.
“You can have a night out where you know everybody and if you don’t, you do by the end of the night,” he said.
Every last Saturday of the month, Kahn, lyricist Billy Easton and drummer Arthur Schroeder assume the duties of both laborer and performer at McCormick’s Coney Island, located in downtown South Bend.
From the dreaded but necessary door-duty to the booking and personal lodging of visiting acts, the group has employed a do-it-yourself mentality in its effort to consistently offer varied lineups for its showcase.
“It’s fantastic. I love these guys and what they’re doing for the music scene,” said Art McCormick, a bartender and critic of sorts who has endured blankets of din for years at his family‘s establishment.
“They’re always bringing someone new and not just hip-hop groups, both locally and from the region.”
Past No. Coast Socials have featured performances from Chicago’s The Highest Low, Grand Rapids’ LoMobb and Detroit’s Dante Lasalle, as well as local groups The Rutabega, Infinite Buffalo and Bailey Williams and the Cherannes.
This month, South Bend welcomes Cincinnati’s Black Pharaoh and Counterfeit Money Machine, featuring DJ Juan Cosby aka Nick Mitchell. The evening will double as an album release show as Mitchell’s Grasshopper Juice Records makes available The B.E.A.T.’s new EP, “Undercover.”
“We had this idea to do an EP that was a double set. Six covers, six originals.” Kahn said. “These are the covers, but not in the traditional sense. They’re definitely re-arrangements of these songs we bring our own style to.”
Hip-Hop icon Ol’ Dirty Bastard was said to have had no father to his style. Maury called. The paternity tests on The B.E.A.T.’s DNA are in: Charlie Hunter, Larry LaLonde, Robert Glasper, Chris Dave, Nas, Lupe Fiasco, MF DOOM…you ARE the fathers.
“Undercover” finds the group applying its loop-based, backbeat-driven brand of hip-hop to the works of Kendrick Lamar, Portishead, Gucci Mane and Cake, among others. The arrangements are exercises in the group’s ability to inject non-linear influences into its hip-hop core and too easily evoke the “Wait, was that….?” response from listeners.
Local concertgoers, raise your glass and toast the Coast.