GZA & Brownout
South by Southwest Aftershots
Reviewed by Chase Hoffberger, Fri., March 23, 2012
GZA & BrownoutHaven, March 17
"This is the first time we've done this," GZA admitted after he and ATX groove line Brownout dropped megaton bombs together on his 1995 classic, Liquid Swords. "We ain't had much time to practice." Truthfully, you'd have thought they'd been at it years. Looking locked-in and very excited about sharing a stage with the Wu-Tang Clan MC, the eight-man Grupo Fantasma offshoot gave GZA's understated delivery new life Saturday night, a Latin funk reconstruction of Wu architect RZA's horn-laden soul samples. The Genius noted the difference just before "Shadowboxing," saying, "The great thing about rapping with a live band ... you can just take your time and do what you want." Much of that freedom came thanks to drummer John Speice, who eschewed fills to preserve GZA's minimalist beats, but the whole Brownout team was deftly on point, keeping space on tracks like "Paper Plane" and "Living in the World Today" and letting GZA spit complex wisdom. You could tell they relished the moment. "The chemistry is amazing," GZA said before closing with "Victory." "Expect more shows from us."