TVD Live: Theophilus London with Lunice at Grog Shop, 1/11

There’s something different about the energy at a hip hop show. Something that you can’t capture elsewhere. The lights go down on stage, and you can feel the thrum of the crowd as their excitement coalesces into one pulse, one beat.

They’re leaning around each other, looking over shoulders as they peer down a dimly lit hallway that they know houses the VIP room from which Theophilus London will make his exit and take the stage at the Grog Shop. Guys in LVRS jackets and hats take the stage, shuffling things around, taping down the set list and making sure water and beer are amply available. The Tour de Roses backdrop is revealed. We wait. We collectively breathe. Inhale. Exhale.

Theophilus London emerges, taking the stage at a quick gait and instantly the room explodes, the energy doubles.

It’s hard to believe that the Brooklyn native is only 24. Last year he released his EP, Lovers Holiday, in February and turned around and spit out a full-length, Timez Are Weird These Days, in July. London’s grasp on music isn’t limited to rap or hip hop; his prowess extends beyond spitting lyrics and engaging a crowd. He blurs boundaries between genres, clearly drawing influence from soul, punk, R&B, and electronic music.

His performance is out of this world. I mean, the dude sampled Pinky & the Brain and made it work. He sets the stage on fire with songs like “Last Name London” or “Why Even Try” and impresses when he’s singing more melodically such as in “I Stand Alone.” He croons at times. His bassist is wild. His versatility is going to get him far, that’s for sure.

This man has music in his veins and charisma that won’t burn out. London works the entire stage effortlessly; he pulls girls out of the crowd and serenades them. He crowdsurfed. “If you fuck with me now, today, I love you. I fuck with you, Cleveland, ” said London, expressing his gratitude for all the support he’s received so far from fans. Hell, he took the stage again after his set to dance with the crowd before heading over to the merch table to meet people.

Supporting Theophilus London on this tour is Lunice. Lunice is an up and coming musician hailing from Montreal who’s taking command of the scene where electronic beats prevail. His charisma onstage is uncanny, his dance moves as smooth as his transitions, and his energy sick. Lunice took the stage after Cleveland natives Wild Orphans, who killed the energy that was beginning to sizzle in the venue after taking too long to set up and then knocking over half their equipment. Tough break, kids.

Lunice quickly reactivated the energy level, taking what was simmering before and bringing it to a full boil, throwing the crowd into a dance frenzy in anticipation for the next twist he’d throw us. His beats are innovative, mixing meter seamlessly, while the electronica he splices into his music fuses so naturally.

Deerhunter – Helicopter (Diplo & Lunice Remix)

Lunice is establishing a name for himself, not only as a performer on stage, but also as a producer, having done remixes from Elephant Man to Deerhunter. He has a true talent that should definitely be on your radar. Don’t be surprised when he takes over the scene this year.

Bottom line: get yourself out to catch these cats. They’re going to continue to blow up, and if 2012 is really the year the world’s going to end, you may as well party it up.

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