REVIEW: The Perceptionists Perform Intimate Set with Members of Dub Apocalypse at Lizard Lounge

There was too much talent on the tiny stage at Lizard Lounge last night. I’m sure this is often the case given the size of the venue and the sheer volume of talent in the Boston area. Nonetheless last night was something special.


Boston MCs Mr. Lif and Akrobatik combine their powers to form The Perceptionists. Their latest release “Resolution” is one of my favorite recent hip hop releases. At this particular show, they were backed by Van Martin, Tommy Benedetti, and Chris Beam—guitar, drums, and bass respectively—of Boston reggae band Dub Apocalypse as well as DJ Mister Rourke.

The Set

Their first set was all highlights from “Resolution” with Dub Apocalypse performing the backing tracks and still breathing new life into already stellar jams including “Early Mourning,” “Hose Down,” “Out of Control,” and “Resolution.” The second set was a mix of Perceptionists songs mixed with previous solo efforts from Mr. Lif and Akrobatik. I recognized a couple songs from Akrobatik’s phenomenal “Absolute Value” album. That set started with just the DJ and then musicians were added over the course of a few songs, giving it a very distinct feel from the first set.

This sold-out show gave me chills. I was initially antsy about how the intimate, almost cabaret setting might create a restrained, muted atmosphere, but the room was very much alive and the energy was palpable. The band was flawless, playing off the MCs as if they’d been performing together for years. Mr. Lif and Akrobatik owned the space like they were playing in their own living rooms. If the shout-outs were any indication it was clear they were performing to a room full of friends and family. This was one hell of a way to start a tour.

The second set contained an incredible freestyle that I attempted to film.

The only question I had the end of the night, my only tiny quibble, was how come we didn’t get to hear Lif and Akrobatik rap over a reggae rhythm? It felt like such a missed opportunity given it’s Dub Apocalypse’s specialty. I went in assuming most of the backing rhythms would be reggae-tinged. I’ve already forgiven everyone because the music and the night were top notch in every way.

“Resolution” gets better with every listen and I’m thoroughly enjoying my journey through Mr. Lif’s and Akrobatik’s discography. I went in knowing a few Mr. Lif records and I caught a short Akrobatik set at a festival in 2015. Last nights show was reminder that I hadn’t done all of my homework. “Resolution” is available on vinyl and you can rest assured I went home with a copy.

Post Script

I went back to watch their NPR Tiny Desk performance and lo and behold, Van Martin and Tommy Benedetti are playing guitar and drums in the clip! Now idea how I missed that the first time.

Further Reading


WTF Is Ghost Voting?

Voter suppression irks me in ways I can’t describe. John Oliver makes me smile in ways I can’t describe. I look forward to weekly clips from Last Week Tonight on YouTube and the season has started up again. Joy!  (more…)

My NPR Tiny Desk Contest Entry

You might be familiar with NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert series. Typically, it involves a musician or band performing at or around a desk in NPR’s offices. Part of the appeal is the band performing in tight quarters. NPR ran a contest this past January asking bands to submit their own Tiny Desk Concert video. One of my bandmates from The New Limits saw the opportunity and suggested we enter. The project contained the right amount of urgency and flexibility. (more…)

Crate Digging: The Flirts – “Jukebox (Don’t Put Another Dime)”

This came home with me on 45 on my last vinyl haul from Tres Gatos in Jamaica Plain. I first heard the song when raiding my dad’s 45 collection when I was in middle school or high school. I used to randomly choose records from his collection and find stuff I liked. This one stuck with me so when I came across it again, it had to come home with me. (more…)

War on Women - Glass City - Youtube Screenshot

Glass Ceiling? Try Glass City

The term “Glass Ceiling” is too limiting. The idea that women can’t get promoted past particular positions or roles in the workforce makes the issue sound confined. You might say “at least there’s only problems in the work place” or “at least that’s the only problem in the work place.” You’d be wrong to say that. That’s not how systemic sexism works. Everything is connected. The work force is connected to an unfair ecosystem and a system that’s stacked up against women.

As we steadily fight against that system, it’s important to get angry. Women have a right to be pissed off and a right to rage. Kathleen Hanna and Bikini Kill called for “girls to the front” at punk shows. So how about “Girls to the top” in the workforce? (more…)

8 Days to Celebrate Italian-American Heritage Besides Columbus Day

While living in New York, I learned that there was a parade on Columbus Day, and that parade was to celebrate Italian-American heritage. Prior to living in New York–at least that I can remember–I had never thought of Christopher Columbus as an Italian hero. I was mortified. There are plenty of Italians and Italian-Americans who have contributed to civilization and society who weren’t genocidal maniacs. In case you’re new to this discussion about how Christopher Columbus is awful and Columbus Day makes no sense, I’ll let my best friend John Oliver catch you up. This clip was aired a year ago but is just as relevant and to the point.

At about the 2:00 mark, Oliver suggests alternate days to celebrate Italian heritage starting with Frank Sinatra Day. This got me thinking. Why don’t we celebrate our heritage on any other days? Italians (the ones in Italy) don’t even celebrate Columbus Day!

To help get the conversation started, I’ve pulled together a list of people, moments, and days worth celebrating. (more…)