Lady Sovereign, Chester French, and Hollywood Holt in San Diego

Last Thursday, I got the chance to attend the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in San Diego, California. At the heart of 5th Street, to my surprise, Lady Sovereign, Chester French, and Hollywood Holt were playing at the House of Blues. After walking ten blocks, I reached the venue only to find that the show was sold out. I was standing around looking dumb with some nice local fellows when I spotted the guitarist from Chester French, Max. He proceeded to try and sneak us in (shhh) and soon after got us on the guest list (thanks, Max!).

The show began with Chicago-based rapper Hollywood Holt. Living up to his name, paramount stage presence went hand in hand with the clever lyrics and beats that reminded me of being at a house party with Kid ‘n Play.

When Chester French came on, I was excited to hear more of their music (I had only heard “She Loves Everybody” from MTV2). This band has spunk, a certain quiet confidence, and the music is truly a sound that I’ve never heard before. Listening to their album, Chester French could be compared to culinary artists, mixing different flavors and contriving daring recipes that no one else is making. Each song samples from different genres of music including hip-hop, swing, pop, and even country. Drawing from such a dynamic mix of genres, one might expect the music of Chester French to be completely jumbled and chaotic. Fortunately, this is not at all the case. The flow of the album is cohesive and each song naturally progresses into the next. They have a free mixtape out called Jacque Jams, Vol. 1: Endurance featuring Pharell, Diddy, Talib Kweli, Common, Lady Gaga and more. Get It.

Last but not least, Lady Sovereign came to the stage finally after 15 minutes of her DJ spinning. I didn’t get to stay for her whole set, but I have to say her humor between song breaks was entertaining, especially when audience members started throwing their clothes on stage for her to wear. She definitely had a nonchalant attitude during her cover of Metro Station’s hit, “Shake It.” It wasn’t my favorite show, more or less because I was standing next to Lady Sovereign’s “biggest fan” and she insisted on making the rapper sing her “Happy Birthday.” I had to finally call it quits after Sov threw an energy drink all over the crowd, standing there sticky wasn’t my best look of the week.

Written by Rachel Summers


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