Show Review: Family Affair's Birthday Bash at the Gramophone, Friday, November 21

The crowd that came out to the Gramophone on Friday night for Family Affair's birthday celebration was eventually treated to an entertaining show. According to the flyer, the doors opened at 9 p.m.. I came in fashionably late at 10:15, at which time there was no sign of an MC or performer on the stage. In the meantime, DJ Spec worked the tables with a head-nodding mix of radio hits and underground rap. Finally, at almost 11:30, it was announced that the show would begin shortly.

The show opened up with some spoken word performed by a young lady named Inseparable Woman. She immediately got the crowd's attention, and started the show off with class. She was followed by Potzee from U-C-Me (St. Lunatic Murphy Lee's label), an artist best known for his 2006 single "Dat Girl." Next up was crowd favorite Rockwell Knuckles, who never disappoints. Family Affair joined Rocky onstage at one point for a collaboration, which was a standout track of the evening. Most of the opening sets were limited to a couple of songs.

Family Affair: "For tha Love" Also among the night's performers were R&B singer Zee (also signed to U-C-Me), and Gotta be Karim featuring Vandalyzm. Zee offered a nice change of pace, while Karim and Van did what they are known for: a charismatic stage show.

The headliners, Family Affair (consisting of twin brothers QB the Classic and Mr. R.e.p), put their celebrating on hold long enough to give a typically energetic performance. The liquor didn't seem to slow them down at all, as they showcased new material from their growing catalog. The newer songs went over well, but the biggest response came from their better known songs "Here I Iz" and "For tha Love."

I felt like the show could've been longer, but for a $5 cover I really can't complain. Family Affair continues to improve their music, and their "radio-ready" style of rap is smooth and well- produced. At every show, a growing number of fans recite the lyrics, and as they're catching on, I'd like to see the twins play bigger venues in the future.

-- Calvin Cox