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Neon Reverb Friday: Leslie’s journal

Leslie Ventura

Tonight’s hip-hop showcase at the Beauty Bar feels like a pleasant change in scenery from Neon Reverb’s mostly indie rock-oriented lineup. Fremont Street is buzzing with people, and the show of support inside Beauty Bar reaffirms what I enjoy most about Las Vegas’ hip-hop scene: the sense of community and passion for one-another and for the movement.

When I get there, local MCs Phil A and Hassan are in the latter half of their set, dominating the stage per usual. The guys are riding Phil’s funk-inspired beats back and forth to a room full of bobbing heads. They close with a new track they say will be on an upcoming mixtape.

Day-Go Produce hits the stage next but the crowd clears significantly for the San Diego rapper's short set. Those who don't stick around also miss The Vibrant Sound, a hip-hop group out of Salt Lake City that sounds somewhat similarity to Flobots with a hell of a lot more soul. The full live band is missing its bassist, so the singer and guitarist are taking turns switching between instruments.

The guys cover Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On," with singer McKay Stevens throwing original rhymes between every verse. Stevens’ cadence is the perfect contrast to Aaron Eskaran's sexy/smooth vocals. The group plays a few more original songs before ending with Bill Withers' "Ain't No Sunshine." By the time that song is over, I'm covered in goose bumps. Too bad more folks didn’t hang around for The Vibrant Sound’s show, but they'll be back in April for First Friday.

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