In the midst of aerosol fumes & evidence of the great deluge the night before, House of PainT‘s main event took place on Saturday, Sept. 6 without a hitch.
There was ample popping, spraying & crackwising, not to mention a euphoric ambiance. The first thing you noticed walking towards the ‘neath of the Dunbar Bridge was the colour of it all. From 11 a.m. that morning, a squad of graffiti artists worked the three massive walls of the bridge’s supports with a rainbow of colour scheme. Large puddles of rain water separated passersby from the fence of the art attack, and the ground was slick with mud. If you planted your feet firmly apart and craned your neck upwards you’d come to see paint sprayed with precision to resemble jagged metal & curvy letters.
But before getting there you passed the Seeds Tent. At 5 p.m. a DJ set welcomed patrons & rubberneckers to the area under the tent designated free, all-ages fun. It featured local rappers G.Grand, Just Poets, Poetic Elements & Wise Atangana backed by the boom-bap of Decho, Essoudry & Moxon a.k.a. 2React. The Seeds Tent was site all day to Kids Workshops: Luv2Groove‘s dance workshop, Rap Writing with Jugga, Rap Performance with Peter Joynt & Spoken Word workshops with presentations by El Jones & John Akpata.
Under the bridge, the Bboy Crew Semi-Finals saw Floor Assassinz Malitia beat out Funk League & Sweet Technique remove Deadly Venomz to the tracks & rips of DJ Jervy Jerv. Following up, T.O.’s Fresh Kilz slammed a Music Product Centre (MPC) with all his might for the BBoy & BGirl crowd to liven up before the finals. His MPC was smoking from Led Zeppelin & Tenacious D riffs over dance beats, and a special fusion of Deltron 3030’s “Mastermind” & “Rolling the Deep” which he sweetly called “Adele the Funky Homosapien.” He then invited his fellow Torontonian, DJ RELIC a.k.a. REL McCoy, to spit over his machinery. Their jam continued the trend of the Bboy & Bgirl crews crowding around in circles to practice for the upcoming Battle Finals. Many couples were also dancing the hustla, a street-inspired tango with the basics to improvise on a three-step spin.
Ottawa’s own group of Just Jamaal, Hyf Gypsysun & ProfRock as Missing LinX (missing Cannon2x) took to the stage and rapped their way through their set, calling out for Ottawans to raise their hands and make some noise. When the three decided they weren’t getting enough response out of the crowd, they jumped into the midst of introverted breakdancers and created a heart-pounding pit, jumping up and down to their heavily bassed poetry. After returning to the stage they asked for a moment of silence as tribute to Zaccheus Jackson, an East Van-based poet recently killed by a train in Toronto while on tour. His intelligent & beautiful poetry was evidence of a man who loved life, whose passing is mourned throughout the spoken word community.
The main event included the Bboy & BBoy Crew Battle Finals at 8 p.m. LB made his way through J Robin & Lord to claim the Bboy Finals title, all of which can be seen on House of PainT’s youtube popping playlist on HoP Reels. The Bboy Crew Finals had Sweet Technique face Floor Assassinz Malitia for an epic breakdance beatdown over the live tracks of Ikebe Shakedown. This kind of thing is best described by video, filmed and uploaded by HoP Reels:
Ikebe Shakedown continued to shake it all down for those still amped from the Finals. The septet from Brooklyn, NY brought a sultry lounge feel to the dance floor, with the classic percussionist in a drum kit matched by a conga-bongo player. The brass included a trumpet, a trombone & a tenor goddam saxophone. Solid! The circles of Bboys were reaching out and grabbing anyone who even slightly looked like they wanted to jive in the middle of the circle. For some, the choice was made once they were pulled into the middle and left there surrounded by clapping & whistling dancers. I made the premature move of dusting off my shoulders, as a true Caucasian would, which was greeted by skeptical jeers and laughter, but the intensity was still really fun.
After which, a duo listed as DJ Pho but actually the collaboration of Ian “Pho” Swain & Alanna Stuart as Bonjay took to the stage and blasted the area with dancey tracks of chopped pop & soul songs. Their dancehall jive kept the party going until 11 p.m., when the dancefloor was considerably less crowded but still as energetic. The art on all the walls still fresh, festooned with scaffolding, no less beautiful in the black & neon lights.