23 Mar The Beauty of Soulfolks: A Live Performance Review
Earlier this month, I was blessed to see a show at Soulfolks Records and Tapes, a hip hop haven run by the magical folks of the Ruby Yacht Makers Guild in Biddeford, Maine. The bill fronted an assortment of divine musicians and artists, including aLunarLanding, Myles Bullen, Safari Al, Offsite and SB the Moor.
I was one of the first to arrive at the show, and was greeted by smiles from SB the Moor, Myles Bullen and aLunarLanding respectively. The air in the room was calm, with all of us patiently awaiting the religious experience ahead of us. Myles Bullen and I began chatting to pass the time, which soon led to a lesson in juggling. I can’t stress how touching of a moment this was. By the start of the show, I was a half-assed juggler and have to thank Myles for that graciously.
The show began with aLunarLanding delivering some of the most vulnerable bars I’ve heard in a minute. Lunar runs with the Monday of the Minds crew out in Portland, Maine – a crew that focuses on their pen game as much as they do community outreach. Lunar was followed by the lovely Safari Al, who played an intimate guitar set that lasted around twenty minutes, but felt more like an hour. We sat on the floor, cross-legged in front of the bearded wonder as he strummed heavenly notes into our cerebellums.
MC, producer and fellow Soulfolk ‘Offsite’ took the stage next. I had never heard his material before, and it instantly made me a fan of his work. Like many of the Ruby Yacht sailors, Offsite’s art is pure and unique to the artist. I could tell this man was expressing his full self, which is all I desire in a live performance. After the impressive Offsite set, the force that is SB the Moor took center stage. If you haven’t seen Signor Benedick perform, you gotta get on that instantly. His voice bounced off the walls of the building with sheer power, as he commanded the crowd with his natural stage presence and exuberant energy. I was lucky enough to be in the front row for Moor’s set, and I still feel inspired by what I witnessed, even typing this now. SB even bumped into me while busting a funky move, politely forgave me, and continued to steal the show without skipping a beat. It was a moment I will not soon forget.
The show ended with Maine hip hop artist Myles Bullen. I’ve been a fan of Myles since discovering his 2018 project with Pauly Beats Not Dead Yet. Seeing him perform live though – that brought my fandom to new levels. Myles performed acapella, slam-esque free verses with such passion and flow, that it was almost difficult not to be moved by his music. His set was also intimate, as the crowd sat crossed-legged once more with Myles kneeling on the ground in front of us. Myles’ commentary on self-love, mental health and the current climate of modern American life leveled us all that night. I can remember SB the Moor shouting out cries of respect at the end of Myles’ performances – I believe that’s what the kids call “real recognizing real.” A few jazz cigarettes made their ways around the crowd at this time, and all I could think was: “How beautiful is this hip hop culture?”
Once Mr. Bullen concluded his set, friends and fans alike gathered round to show love and appreciation. I sparked the pocket roach I brought with me and even got a chance to briefly speak with Soulfolks’ owners R.A.P. Ferreira and Achene. We shared our love for Rapid Ray’s and Pizza by Alex – two local food spots I’ve been frequenting since my days of elementary. After showing my appreciation for the final time, I made my departure into the brisk New England evening.
We are beyond lucky to have a facility like Soulfolks in the Southern Maine. The culture, love and pure hip hop these artists bring to my home area means more to me than these words can convey. Hopefully this write-up has done that evening justice, and I shall end my words with this: If something is happening at Soulfolks, whether a show, beat showcase or just vinyl appointment, it is a must-attend. Here’s to the Green Horse. May it shine through the mists of the Saco River from now until eternity. Infinite love and appreciation to the Ruby Yacht Makers Guild. Thank you.
images via Benny P, Rory Ferreira & All rightful artists
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– Benny P