By: Mike Gomez
Underground Hip Hop is an interesting art form and Zion I seems to represent the genre to the fullest. With the ability of the public to pay for individual songs, rather than having to buy an entire album, it is imperative that artists of all genres tour consistently to remain relevant and connect with their fans. Luckily, Oakland, California’s Zion I were already reaching the 10,000 hour mark (Malcolm Gladwell) of touring when album sales began to plummet, so their live show is definitely dialed-in. And the legend lives on…
Touring consistently for almost 2 decades, Zumbi, the MC of the group, knows how to play the crowd. He keeps the energy level high and the bass low throughout the show. The group flows seamlessly from song to song, mixing old classics with new album cuts without losing the audience. Being from the bay area, they always bring a conscious vibe. Touching on subjects from police brutality to Tai Chi sounds like it might turn off crowds in Bozeman, Montana or Park City, Utah, but they offer it with genuine concern and weave it perfectly into the night.
Being on the 4th of July, I thought the crowd would be lighter, but it was surprisingly packed by the time the headliners took the stage. All of the performers mentioned the holiday, but none of them treated their performances any different.
The Cabin in Park City was a great venue for this show. The downstairs bar is not too big but kept the crowd packed in well and the sound was very good. The opening acts ranged from Zac Ivie, a Salt Lake-based MC that had a great stage presence and an excellent flow, to Equipto, a conscious bay area MC that was a seasoned vet on stage and on the mic. Throughout the 2 headliners shows, OG R&B singer Michael Marshall would contribute to songs and even sang a solo of Rumors that was awesome.
In typical Underground Hip Hop fashion, Zion I’s show ended with a crew song that got all the acts on stage to freestyle to the beat of I Got 5 On It, with Michael Marshall singing the hook. All of the acts were solid, but the headliners, Zion I and Equipto were true professionals. The show ended with DJ Cavem spinning dance songs into the early morning hours. Great Show, definitely a must see for anybody that enjoys live music.