DC Rap Rockers Leave Cleveland Blackout Attendees Seeing Red, Gold & Green
The Grog Shop in Cleveland Heights is a part dive bar, part music venue where a wide range of artists have performed over the course of the venue’s quarter-century of existence. This past Saturday, the Coventry Rd. neighborhood spot once again took on that role, this time with a reggae-heavy bill, as the third leg of the Blackout 2017 Tour made its way through the “Comeback City.” Headlining the night were SoCal surf rockers The Expendables, who along with openers and fellow SoCal natives Tribal Theory brought the abundance of good vibes, but it was DC-based rap rockers RDGLDGRN who really stole the show.
One thing I immediately noticed about RDGLDGRN’s set was the energy and poise they brought throughout their entire time up on stage. The alternative hip-hop collective is comprised of guitarist Red, bassist Gold, and frontman Green, with each one bringing something unique to the table sonically. For Red, a calm, cool and collected demeanor paired well with his feisty riffing, while Gold complemented this nicely, laying down the low end and possessing a subtle swagger, locking in a tight groove with drummer Snaxx.
Of course, Green’s commanding stage presence is worth mentioning as well, even if it did just feel like icing on the cake. Nevertheless, he kept the audience engaged and involved the whole time, and went as far as taking a fan’s request to add “No Pixar” into the band’s set partway through. This audience involvement culminated at the end of their performance, when Green divided the crowd into an “east” and a “west” to see which half could get rowdier during the band’s raucous rendition of the Rage Against the Machine classic “Bullet in the Head.”
RDGLDGRN encompassed everything I enjoy about their sound on recordings, and replicated it flawlessly with their live set. Songs like “Doing the Most,” “Runnin Away” and “Karnival” translated rather well, adding a sort of infectiousness that can only be experienced in person. All in all, what meant to be a “blackout” ended with Clevelanders leaving The Grog Shop seeing red, gold and green. Keep your eyes peeled for these Reston natives, as they have a new EP dropping in May and a second LP soon to follow that.