In its second year, Secret Stages can still be an overwhelming festival. With over 80 bands and comedians performing in Birmingham’s Historic Loft District over two days in May, people sometimes have a difficult time choosing which emerging acts to see.
The easy answer is “all of them,” but it’s not practical. The festival has a lineup with enough diversity to satisfy every taste: rock, country and hip-hop acts from every corner of America invade bars and clubs like Matthew’s Bar & Grill, Pale Eddie’s Pour House, Metro Bar, Das House, Rogue Tavern, Steel Urban Lounge, and the Wine Loft. VIP weekend passes are $60, while a general admission weekend pass is $25. Day passes are $15. All passes allow admittance to all bars that are part of the festival. Tickets can be purchased in advance at www.secretstages.net.
I have chosen a few artists from different parts of the musical spectrum to highlight. I’ll not be able to touch all of the terrific music that will soundtrack the Magic City on May 11 – 12, but perhaps these pieces can offer some direction.
Birmingham hip-hop collective K.L.U.B. Monsta is Joshua, K-Ricks, J-Dotta and Air Talley. The four-piece has cut its teeth as part of Birmingham’s Lobotomix scene. The acronym name checks the Magic City (Knowledge Learned Under Birmingham). They’ll take the stage at Matthew’s Bar on Saturday, May 12, at 6:45 p.m. I spoke to Joshua Bailey about Southern hip-hop, the community created by Lobotomix and the recent death of rap pioneer, Adam Yauch, of the Beastie Boys.
Blake Ells for Birmingham Box Set: How long have you been at this?
Joshua Bailey: K-Ricks and Air went to school together at Holy Family – they formed the group, and have been going at it since 2006. They started as Monsters Inc. We’ve had the group with this lineup since 2009.
BE: How has Lobotomix influenced this community?https://9c95e3b11458e7169a97084d86fcdf5f.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html
JB: Actually, it is a hip-hop movement within Birmingham that’s been very supportive of hip-hop artists. They put on a show about every month within the city. I think it’s been a really good voice. It’s given a particular place for us to gather monthly and provided a platform for artists to share music and perform. It’s a great voice for the city.
BE: Why do you think the Alabama hip-hop scene is so far from the stereotype of most Southern hip-hop?
JB: We have a lot of different guys with a lot of different perspectives on music. Having a lot of different groups helps and it brings a different sound to everyone.
BE: What was your first reaction to the news of MCA’s (Adam Yauch, Beastie Boys) death?
JB: It’s a legacy with the Beastie Boys. We all grew up listening to the records. With death, it brings a new perspective to music. And with that, younger people will now learn about the Beastie Boys. It’s unfortunate that it happens that way, but because it does, the legacy will continue to grow.
BE: Who are the top five American rock bands of all time?
JB: Jimi Hendrix. Run DMC. Goodie Mob. The Bar-Kays. And George Clinton.
K.L.U.B. Monsta’s music can be found throughout various platforms by checking out their site www.klubmonsta.com.