Published Sep 25, 2008A perfect set-up for a Gap commercial thanks to the variety of faces both on stage and off, Kaigen's North American debut still could have used a few extras in the crowd. And the fact that the already sparse crowd thinned out even more towards the end of the night is unfortunate as many missed a great performance by Tokyo, Japans Kaigen.
Although unable to understand a single word out of his mouth while on stage until his "thank you at the end, his beats were dark, heavy and experimental, sounding like something you might hear from the Def Jux camp, and his flow and inflection were intense. His stage presence was also superb even if it was just arm waving and pacing. It was done with style, and a unique outfit: a colourful hood and black arm warmers.
He was definitely the highlight of the night, although it should have come as no surprise after a seemingly shy Kaigen stepped on stage during Moduloks earlier set only to become extremely animated during his one explosive verse.
As for Modulok, he was having a bit of a bad day, explaining at the top of his set that he had hurt his shoulder the night before showing Kaigen around town. It didnt limit his movements as much as he expected, but it definitely dialled down his energy a notch or two even if opening song "Black Cloud got the crowd hype as it always does.
He took the opportunity to drop raps with two other regular collaborators, Baracuda and Apollo Creed, the latter also opening the show with a set of tight raps and banging beats that happened to be the most traditional of the night. Things started well and ended great, yet hardly anyone was there to witness it.