1/18/2015 – Brighton Music Hall

Blast off.

We have begun our journey. One that will take us into deep space to a planet called Brighton Music Hall to observe Viva La Hop and study their brand of music. It is a launch party for local inhabitants Better Vibes who will at the end of our journey donate $1,380 in proceeds to Horizons for Homeless Children. A journey that began during The Patriot’s AFC Championship Game, glowing on screens in the back of the venue. But above all, a journey that will shed light on a hip-hop group that we might expect to hear in the 90’s, but we’re glad they’re here now.

For a group that is first and foremost hip-hop oriented, Viva La Hop are not afraid to share the spotlight among its band members, giving their backing musicians ample solos to evince their talent. Appended to the finale of their first song is a sax solo by Nathan Berla-Shulock, a statement that says, we have two rappers at the front of the stage, but we are more than the traditional DJ/MC setup—we are a band.

The last time we saw Viva La Hop we found keytarist DeShawn Alexander launching melodies into the stratosphere. This time around, it became clear this was an understatement. The notes are much further out of this world than that. They are as massive as Saturn, and as frosty as its rings. In Alexander we trust, to discover unearthly melodies each time his fingers touch down on the keys.

We seem to lose connection at times on our journey, with Viva La Hop’s featured singer Iva Kostic coming through a bit too softly over the intrepid funk. Hopefully next time her mic will be at the right level; nevertheless, her muteness vanishes like a sunspot on a red giant, and we voyage onwards.

Though drawing heavily from their debut album Fantasize, Viva La Hop allows its surveyors a listen to one of their brand new songs. In the hook they ask, “Who got the lighter?” The answer? A surprisingly small amount of people for a mostly-20’s Allston crowd. A few lighters flicker as the bass line thumps, and go out.

The persuasiveness in Viva La Hop’s language is not only demonstrated through clever lyrics laid on top of a tasty bed of wah-pedal, but through MC’s Bo Lyriks’ and Philly G’s ability to play off one another’s rhymes. When they are not finishing each other’s lines, they are miming through dance and hand motions what the other is rapping about. They are in tune with their own language and show it. Good thing too. They are voracious—devouring syllables and spitting them out faster than a woodchipper.

The future has fire in its forecast: Viva La Hop takes aim, shoots for the stars, and connects.

Exploring Their Universe: Viva La Hop
Pros
  • Impressive freestyle by their two rappers—Bo Lyriks and Philly G
  • Band allows each member to show off their proficiency
  • Better Vibes and the boys raised $1,380 for Horizons for Homeless Children
Cons
  • Iva Kostic’s voice seemed weak (in part to a low mic level)
9Galactic Funk

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