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Swollen Members

Neumos in Seattle, Washington

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After I heard this tour was being booked, I got incredibly excited about seeing Swollen Members, the newest act signed to Suburban Noize Records. At first they announced every date except the Seattle show. I thought I was going to miss the tour, or end up having to drive up to Bellingham to catch the madness but it came through town, right on Capitol Hill at Neumos. I read that they would be joined on this tour by Australia’s most successful and popular hip hop group, Bliss n Eso, so I did some research and looked the guys up. They had a couple videos which looked really good, and considering they travelled across half the globe to perform for us made this an event to look forward to even more. Better than that, veteran Big B was taking the stage, as well as Seattle’s own Common Market. Not just a local opener, they went on right before Swollen Members on every stop in the tour, getting Seattle hip hop out to the rest of the world. Not to mention, this tour fell right in between an Australian and Canadian tour for Swollen Members. Needless to say, this was a four act roster that I found pretty difficult to fuck with.

The night started out with trials and tribulations, as it was raining and we decided against taking a 20 minute walk to the venue. The car broke down on the way, and when we finally got it running again we got pulled over and ticketed for some bullshit reason. Nevermind that, Neumos opened the doors at 7, I showed up around 740 and the venue already looked pretty good. The place was filling up better than most shows in this town does this early. People in Seattle hear that a show starts at 8, and usually people dont show up until around 10, so I was glad to see people were eager enough to show up early. Being that this was a tour consisting 50% of people from the Northwest region (Swollen Members from Vancouver British Columbia, Canada and our own local Common Market) I knew in advance that this crowd was going to be full of energy.

Bliss n Eso’s DJ, DJ Izm took the stage, controlling the ones and twos. When I say ones and twos, I mean VINYL. Not many DJs these days spin vinyl, so this was enough to have my attention. The DJ was cutting shit up, killing it. Bliss n Eso took the stage, introduced themselves, told us that they were the first ever hip hop artists to ever tour in our country. They had a half hour full of insane DJ abilities and even a beat-boxing session complete with an Aussie freestyle. I really thought these guys rocked the fuck out of the place, and brought something different. This duo seems quite intelligent and concerned about alot of things that most of us fail to give a shit about. Eso displayed the most badass beat boxing skills I have ever seen, and they even stuck this crazy chant in there I would have expected from a kandi kid raver of “Peace Love and Unity.” People liked them, and I am glad for this because laot of times the opener sucks and well, these guys do anything but suck.

Moving on Big B took the stage for about my tenth time seeing him live, and delivered what is in my opinion the best set I have seen him perform in my history of seeing him live. I find it easy to get sick of seeing an artist over and over again, but I truly enjoyed this performance. He did some of my favorites, some shit I never heard before, but nothing that the crowd didn’t seem to get into. He mixes alot of different styles into his set, so that no matter what you’re into there was something to please everybody.

The crowd began to get more serious around this time, as one of the biggest acts in our area took the stage. This crowd was filled with people I found to look extremely out of place at a Sub Noize show, as it had alot of Asians and “Bro-type” white kids mixed in with the familiar juggalos that accompany any roster containing a Sub Noize artist. Familiar hollers of WOOP WOOP graced the venue from start to finish. Common Market hit the stage and the place just lit up! Sabzi appeared behind the ones and twos, and by ones and twos i mean a Mac laptop computer, and started playing some ill ass hip hop joint I had never heard before. He started hyping people up, and shouted “This is some Seattle shit y’all haven’t even heard yet so get the fuck up!” and everybody followed suit. RA Scion took the stage in true Seattle fashion. Looking like a hipster straight out of a coffee shop, he grabbed the mic and started rocking shit right there in his coat, beanie and scarf. I had never liked the group much until seeing this live performance. It was a traditional display of conscious hip hop, and somehow, fit the bill perfectly, giving the show some sort of balance and flavor not commonly associated with the majority of shows a juggalo would attend. Grayskul and The Gigantics own Onry Ozzborn took the stage to do about two songs with RA Scion and Sabzi, COMPLETELY murdering it. The next few songs he was joined by another local artist, Grynch, and threw some more variety into his set with that. All in all, Common Market’s set was pulsing with energy the entire time, and I’m sure the performance they gave was not much different from the one they brought on the road.

To chants of SWOLLEN! SWOLLEN! Next up, Rob the Viking and Tre Nyce came to the stage to set it off, then Prevail stormed onto the stage and Mad Child came out shortly after. When Swollen Members hit the stage, my ears were ringing from people screaming around me. You can tell how big these guys really are when you see shit like I seen at the show. Alot of people knew alot of lyrics, and the crowd was very alive. On stage, Prevail is a monster. running his ass off, stage diving, climbing over shit, and not missing a beat. Mad Child does not fall short though. They both brought their own style with them, and they are really a diverse group when you see how each of them performs. Tre Nyce, the newest of the Battle Axe Warriors, can sing too. The entire set he impressed me with his energy and he seems like a good fit with the group. They did alot of shit from all over their career including, “Black Magic” “Red Dragon” “Warriors” “Fuel Injected” “Porn Star” “Too Hot” “Bottom Line” “Breathe” “Deep End” and closed out with a Seattle approved cover of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” to end the American tour.

I say thake a look at the photos to see the isanity that you missed out on. If you caught this tour, I’m pretty sure your experience was just like mine. If you didn’t catch the tour, now you know for next time they roll through. If you live in one of the many American cities that did not get a date for this tour, I would guess it wouldn’t be too long before Sub Noize has them covering the states coast to coast. Swollen Members are not a group to fuck with. Their independent fan base as well as their reputation and track record are both crazy and impressive, and something nobody would want to miss out on. For those of you not familiar with these guys, you can check out my Youtube video interview with Mad Child of Swollen Members to make yourself more familiar, or just by searching them in Youtube, Google Video, Myspace or Pandora and listening to their tracks. Oh, and go read Whipstick’s review of Armed to the Teeth to get his take on what the record is like. Peace.



  • Neumos
  • Washington
  • United States


  • Big B, Common Market & Bliss n Eso


  • Armed To The Teeth Tour

Record Label:

  • Suburban Noize Records


  • Buckeye Fresh

Review Date:

  • 11/08/2009


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