I had the honor of driving to Tempe AZ and catch the FreeKING Out tour with Johnny Richter and Sozay. The drive two hours north was uneventful and I arrived at the venue at seven pm, ready to do an interview and check out the show!
The first openers were a duo named Bizzo. They had really good stage presence, great beats, and smooth flow. The only problem I had with their set was the lyrical content: it was very unoriginal. We heard five tracks from them. The set consisted of a weed track, a hyping their money track, and a hood anthem talking about knocking someone out. Overall a nice set, even with the limited lyrics.
The second act was a solo artist named Breezy T, who was new to his label. He seemed very nervous and his performance was hurt by that. Once again, he had good beats but his lack of stage presence really hurt this live set.
The third guy was Steady P. Steady is a great word because his ability to rhyme and flow on the mic were extremely limited but his flow was slow and plodding, never changing from a monotone sound. Several times his lyrics were way off the beat and he was quite limited in movement while performing.
The fourth act was Blazie D and Snakey McVay aka OG Music, who set the place on fire. The duo’s stage presence was impressive, their lyrical abilities were unmatched by any other opener, their crowd interaction was on point, and they set the stage nicely for Sozay and Richter. These two were, by far, the best opening act on the show. If you haven’t yet heard what The OriGinals do, go to their Facebook and check them out here.
Next up was the co-headliner, Sozay. With a full band backing him, the singer hit the stage after two days in the hospital in Taos NM, suffering from the flu. Sozay had a great set that reminded me of Sublime or 311. It was a great live show, even though the crowd had moved back into the bar and left a limited number in the front to enjoy the music. They performed for about 30 minutes and I really enjoyed the set. Go check Sozay and his band out here.
Finally it was time for the legend himself, Johnny Richter. He hit the stage and performed tracks from his entire career catalog. Neutron, Richter’s hype man, did a great job of backing him on every track. The two kept the energy flowing in the club for over an hour. Richter did not speak on stage about anything but his solo work and the future. I was able to record the first 16 minutes of the show. You can check that out on Youtube.
After the show, Richter went to the merch booth and spent over 45 minutes with his fans, signing autographs and taking pictures before he could cut out some time to do the interview. We started out in the men’s bathroom because it had the best light in the club. About six to seven minutes into the interview, security came in and asked us to clear out because the building was being locked up. After moving outside to the backstage area and finding a good spot with suitable lighting, we continued the interview, which covered topics like Richter’s appearance at the Pakelika memorial show; his stance on legalizing marijuana; new projects he foresees on the horizon; new tours, both international and in the US; and if his recording process has changed since leaving the Kings.
Then I was back on my way back to Tucson. I got home at about 3:30am. It was a long day, but well worth the trip. Richter is moving on without the Kottonmouth Kings and from what I saw, it looks like promising things are ahead of him.