Heiruspecs is a gateway drug.
Before I heard them, I was the sort of snob who looked down on rap. A friend brought me to one of their shows at the State Fair around 2003 and I was immediately hooked. The tightness of the band, the wit and style of the MCs, the overall energy, everything about them was engaging. Plus, bassist Twinkie Jiggles (known now on the radio and elsewhere as Sean McPherson) freestyled and wore a sweet “Bring Back the Davanni’s Salad Bar” shirt. More than just liking them, they opened me up to rap in general.
So thank you, Heiruspecs.
Loose and Tight
There is no band like Heiruspecs. Main MC Felix has great flow and high energy. His partner, Muad’Dib, provides hooks with both his singing and beatboxing. The band behind them is equally important. They’re like a four-piece rhythm section in two parts: bassist Twinkie Jiggles and drummer Peter Leggett lay the foundation, and guitarist Josh Peterson and keyboard player deVon Gray combine for inventive riffs, playing off Leggett and McPherson effortlessly.
How tight they are, combined with how loose their attitude is – they’re obviously having fun and love what they do – makes their shows musically satisfying and entertaining.
Not surprisingly, the Turf Club sold out for their annual Holiday Classic (Christmas Classic has better alliteration, but I digress). DJ Adrian Perryman began the night, followed by an affecting, too-short set from local music scene veteran Lady Midnight. The dark, engaging beats behind her soulful vocals were provided by DJ Keezy.
A Good Day for the Mayor
Recently in St. Paul, we’ve been blessed with Mayors who promote the arts, especially music. Former Mayor Chris Coleman was always at music festivals in St. Paul and encouraged the creation of many projects and concert series’.
It looks like current Mayor Melvin Carter is the same way, as he introduced Heiruspecs and is obviously a huge fan (and friends with the group, as they each went to Central High School in St. Paul). In his opening remarks, the Mayor talked about how much the band has done for the community, not only by their music but by helping underprivileged kids. It was the perfect hope-filled way to begin a holiday celebration.
Their joy-filled set was fitting. They played songs spanning their entire career, and even threw in some new songs. Highlights included fan favorite “5ves,” a ferocious reading of “A Tiger Dancing,” and even a verse of one of my favorite songs of theirs, “Something for Nothing” (Felix: “I almost went straight into the hook, we haven’t done this one in awhile”).
The night ended with another appearance from Mayor Carter, who even took a turn on the mic. He looked in his element, like he was part of the band. Supporting the arts is important for the community, and it’s nice to have another St. Paul Mayor who intimately understands that.
I don’t usually like mentioning the weather, whether as small talk or in a music article, but as the crowd left the Turf Club it was gently snowing, which was the perfect send-off for a holiday show. As they do every year, Heiruspecs led a much-needed, uplifting celebration.
As I was standing outside after the show watching the snow, I overheard a conversation. One guy angrily predicted that people would criticize the mayor for performing at a rap show. “The world is so messed up, somebody is bound to complain about it.” At that point, another person chimed in (I can’t remember exactly what he said, but I’ll paraphrase): “I’m a Republican, so I didn’t vote for Mayor Coleman. But what he did tonight was really cool and I respect him a lot. I can’t promise that nobody will complain, but know that there are plenty of level-headed people with my beliefs.” They shook hands and ended up having a nice conversation. It was pretty cool.