Last Night: Look Daggers, LD N Ariano @ The Prospector in Long Beach

Last Night: Look Daggers, LD N Ariano @ The Prospector in Long Beach 5/29

Better Than: Being a San Antonio Spurs fan last night

Nothing caps off a Thursday night like a swirling mix of basketball, break beats and booze. Hell, it’s a good night if you can manage to enjoy even one of those things. And the Look Daggers' show at The Prospector in Long Beach delivered on all three. Sure, the Lakers’ Western Conference clincher over San Antonio was over way before sound check, but plenty of regulars decided to stay, drink hard and party with some live hip hop courtesy of local legends Ikey Owens (The Mars Volta, Free Moral Agents), 2Mex (Visionaries) and a cavalcade of fire breathing emcees.

It happened gradually, but as night spread thicker onto this neighborhood sports bar, the laid back, local atmosphere shifted. Soon it gave way to a flood of crooked lid hip hop heads, a dash of fine females, clamoring conversations and warm bodies. Not to mention fewer places to stand in the cramped walk ways. Rattling ice cubes and clanging glass meshed a little non-stop bar symphony on underneath thumping house speakers while LD N Ariano, the opening duo, set up their gear.

Before Ariano even let out his first few bars, the crowd was already pushed up to the very front of the stage. Fans of the group hooted and hollered as LD and Ariano carved out a sound that balanced innovative beats and thunder quake rhyme delivery. Don’t be fooled if you ever see them live, they may look harmless, but their skills proved otherwise last night, despite a few technical difficulties with the sound system.

To add some wow factor to the show, LD showed off his DJ skills with crazy cutting sessions and solos spliced in between songs. On Ariano’s cue, LD’s hands would flick and crawl like spiders over the cross fade. Shouts of appreciation from the crowd echoed back with every trick he tested. By the time they were finished, this had converted a new stable of fans, had a few drinks and caused a fair share of damage on stage.

But the true wreckage would come once the cast of Look Daggers took the stage and filled every square inch of the venue with their special blend driving beats slathered with free jazz gusto and enough pop to keep everything from falling apart. Though he arrived a tad late, local hero 2Mex made his grand entrance to a bar full of grateful, half drunk fans. Ikey Owens, along with Mendee Ichikawa (Free Moral Agents), Chris Clawson, Travis Laws and Jesse Wilder provided the backdrop for 2Mex to spit his rhymes about everything from fucked up relationships to…fucked up relationships.

If there’s one thing about this band that is worth noting, it’s that they know how to jam out, no matter how cramped the stage. The somber oohhs, ahhs and shrieks of Ichikawa leveled a ghostly cloud over the majority of the band's infectious grooves. Between Owens’ soulful sputtering keyboard lines and the thick rhythms of Laws, Clawson and Wilder, these guys found a way to bring the energy of a six member band to stage that probably shouldn’t try to fit more than three. Hmm, maybe that’s why the new album’s called Suffer in Style. As an added surprise, LD was also joined on stage by several guest emcees including Existereo (of the Shape Shifters), Mestizo, Lord Zen, and Coachella veteran, Bus Driver.


Critics Notebook

Personal Bias: Look Daggers are all really nice people : ) despite the name.

Random Detail: The stage setup for the bands included over a dozen of those disc shaped tap lights with yellow upside down happy faces…artistic

By the Way: Finally, after the endless buzz over the bands debut EP “The Patience EP,” Look Daggers have taken an ambitious stab at success with the new full length album “Suffer in Style” on Up Above Records that also includes a CD N DVD of the bands local and international tour stops. As of now we’re looking at a September release date. But the album has actually been available to download on iTunes since April.

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