It was a warm Friday night in November 2014. I was driving to Thousand Oaks to pick up my friend Tyler on our way up the Pacific Coast to the beach town Ventura, California to see Clockwork Indigo live. Clockwork Indigo is a New York based rap supergroup consisting of The Underachievers and Flatbush ZOMBiES. It was their “Electric Koolade Experience” tour featuring separate opening performances by The Underachievers and Flatbush ZOMBiES and a Clockwork Indigo set together as the headliner.
The Majestic Ventura Theater was set up with 2 standing room tiers and a upper balcony. The medium sized venue was packed full of people, mostly younger, excited to exercise their third eye vision and counterculture ways through the music. My friend and I slowly made our way up towards the stage to get as close to the front as possible.
The Underachievers came on first, performing songs such as “Herb Shuttles”, “N.A.S.A.” and many others. I remember the crowd getting wild when their joint “Flexin'” came on, and a mosh pit formed just to my left. A couple shoulder checks and head bangs later, someone elbows me in my temple, and I couldn’t figure out if it was the head trauma or second hand high from the cloud of weed smoke that blurred my vision. One thing was for sure: The Underachievers knew how to get the crowd going and could also 180 to spit real, socially conscious raps.
Next up was the Flatbush ZOMBiES, the grittiest rap group since the Wu. They played their songs “Thug Waffle”, “Palm Trees” and “My Team, Supreme” among many others. These 3 rap stars enjoyed every second on stage and the energy flowed into the crowd. I remember turning around to look at my friend because we were rapping along to the beat, and next thing I know someone landed on top of my head. Initially annoyed, I turned around to see what was going on, and it was Meechy Darko who had crowd surfed directly on top of me. He got thrown around for a bit more, then dropped into the crowd and continued rapping. After, he jumped back on stage and proceeded to crowd surf at least 4 more times.
Flatbush brought a unique presence to the stage. I never truly knew why they called themselves zombies until seeing them live. Meech, Juice and The Architect actually look and act like zombies, simultaneously rolling their eyes back so you can only see the whites of their eyes. I discovered a new affinity for Flatbush due to their amazing stage presence in addition to the several quality joints that they performed.
Lastly, Flatbush left the stage for 10 minutes and then came back with the Underachievers to perform a Clockwork Indigo set. Because they have only released 5 songs together, the Clockwork set was a bit shorter. Once again, the energy of the stage poured into the crowd, as all 5 of the New York rappers took turns spitting fire verses and freestyles.
UA and FBZ are a hip hop match made in heaven.
Their individual styles and flow complement each other perfectly. No one outshines the other, yet each of the 5 contribute a unique cog into the collaboration. The one complaint that I had for the concert was that they did not play “Butterfly Effect”, which is my favorite song out of all of their hits. Despite this, the concert was one of the best hip hop group live performances I have ever seen.