Soundset battled extreme weather at Canterbury Park, 5/27/12

Categories: Soundset
Photo by Erik Hess
By Reed Fischer and Ian Traas

With Atmosphere, Lupe Fiasco, Ghostface Killah & Raekwon, Astronautalis, Big K.R.I.T., and more
Canterbury Park Festival Field, Shakopee
Sunday, May 27, 2012

Soundset 2012 evacuated amid tornado watch
Soundset photos 2012

Up until about 7:20 p.m., the fifth installment of Rhymesayers' Soundset hip-hop festival was the perfect storm of culture, music, and social behavior on an unseasonably hot day. As we now know, the thing turned into a real weather hazard, and the day was cut short -- sort of. In the middle of Lupe Fiasco's set -- one of the wildest performances of the day -- the skies quickly turned dark and then stormy enough that warnings of a tornado and severe thunderstorms abruptly halted things (more on that here).

Reed Fischer: Hours before, the sun was high and many attendees filing into Canterbury Festival Field's slightly soggy grounds were looking for their first high too -- musical or otherwise. Hay and sawdust covered the especially wet parts of the grounds, and things were moving along impressively by the middle of Prof's set on the main stage. He doused the crowd not only with a high-powered squirt gun, but a sweaty selection of jams from King Gampo, including the drunken soul-along "Whiskey." 
Photo by Erik Hess

Photo by Erik Hess
Impressively coiffed Danny Brown came out donning a boss leather jacket next. "Soundset, what the fuck is up?" he asked, and tried to get things moving with his XXX standout "Die Like a Rockstar." Though this song, and plenty others, kill on record -- his variety of minimalist beats and the insistence that he "don't need a hook for this shit" proved to be not quite enough to get the crowd beyond the first few rows on his side. Looking for more in the future from Brown, who undeniably looks like a rock star already.

Photo by Erik Hess
Soundset vet Grieves, on the other hand, proved to be one of the strongest of the day. "Some of you are drunk as shit on a Sunday, and you won't let it show you down," he shouted at the throngs baking in the sun. With one-man backing band Budo, who was introduced as guitarist, keyboardist, trumpeter, and DJ, the wiry Seattle rapper came strong with now-familiar material from Together/Apart to prompt sing-alongs during "Lightspeed," "All I Know," and "On the Rocks." This was also your writer's first sighting of the enormous orange Tootsie Pop making its way through the crowd.

Photo by Erik Hess
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis maintained the energy level with a full-band attack, including a string section. Ben "Macklemore" Haggerty seemed intent on touching every single square foot of the stage, including the top of the speakers. The infectious party anthem "Can't Hold Us," got the crowd exploding along with them. And, adding to it was an infectious message when the rapper revealed a black "Legalize Gay Marriage" tee underneath his pink collared shirt. RSE would be wise to keep bringing these obvious audience magnets back as their profile rises.

Photo by Erik Hess
All the while, the MaLLy-hosted Fifth Element stage was spinning through a variety of Minnesota talent and up-and-comers from around the country. In between performances, the rapper cracked wise and dropped a few performances of his own of songs like "Heir Time." One of the highlights of the day on that stage was Villa Rosa, the duo of Muja Messiah and Maria Isa, bringing a conscious vibe -- and another squirt gun -- to the proceedings and a rare female presence to match the many, many females in the audience. Their interplay was evident on the Nina Simone-sampling "Blindfolded" and "Watch Out."

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