For the first of a two-night stand at the Earl and the final stop of a 30-city tour, Psyche Origami decorated the stage with a faux gas pump and a store counter on which apple juice, water, beer and a bag of banana lollipops were stacked. Plastered on the counter were two rows of lottery scratch-off tickets and the band's logo, an origami bird. The net result was that the near-capacity audience was immersed in Psyche Origami's environment-friendly, clean-fuel approach to bread-and-butter hip-hop.
Early birds who arrived at 10 p.m. were treated to an excellent opening set by X:144 and SPS, a duo from Orlando, Fla. DJ SPS, the reigning DMC South Eastern Regional Champion, coordinated vinyl tricks over beats from a DAT machine while X:144 speed rapped. For five glorious minutes, SPS scratched and juggled his way through an amazing turntable routine.
Next up was Binkis, bumrushing through trademark cuts such as "That's What I'm Talking About" and "Out of the Box," then appropriated silly cover versions of Buster Poindexter's "Hot Hot Hot" and the Jungle Brothers' "I'm Gonna Do You." Collective Efforts followed with a set that, sonically, hearkened toward People Under the Stairs-styled positive hip-hop.
By 12:30 p.m., when Psyche Origami finally began to perform, the cigarette smoke filled the misty room. The drunken audience bounced around everywhere, making it difficult to focus on the trio's subsequent set. But it wasn't as if the crowd had no love for the headliners: When Wyzstyk commanded, "Come on, bounce," everyone happily complied.
Dressed in the same gas-station attendant's suit that he wore in Psyche Origami's promo shots, Wyzstyk worked the room for well over an hour while DJs Synthesis and Dainja cued up beats. Freestyling over beats such as Madvillain's "America's Most Blunted" and performing cuts from Psyche Origami's second album, The Standard, Wyzstyk worked the mic like Black Thought for an hour-plus. While DJs Synthesis and Dainja cued up beats, Wyzstyk flung banana lollipops to the audience, performed one song while talking on a cell phone, and barely broke a sweat.