Hip-hop artist Caliph set the stage on fire during his performance at The Middle East Downstairs on Friday, June 1. Hailing from New Bedford, MA, Caliph brings a rare combination of energy, excitement and raw talent to each of his performances, and this show was certainly no exception. While the bill for the night consisted of more than ten Boston-based artists—including one dance company—Caliph proved to everyone in attendance that the Whaling City deserves to be represented in Boston.
Caliph’s air-tight flow and super-fast rhymes were only out-shined by his on-stage antics. It was tiring just watching him as he moved about the stage. Jumping up and down, running back and forth, spinning around with arms out-stretched, it was more like watching an aerobics class than a rap show.
In addition to the killer performance by Caliph, I was impressed by the on-stage collaboration and the genuine interest that each artist showed in what the other performers were doing. I have never seen such enthusiasm and respect from one artist to another. Usually, you go to super-hip “indie” shows around the city and everyone is too concerned with themselves to pay attention to the other acts. At one point, every performer on the bill (plus several of their closest friends) was up on stage, dancing and singing along to the choruses of whoever happened to be performing at that moment in time.
Overall, this was an excellent performance and I will certainly be keeping an ear out for what Caliph will be doing next. --Daniel McMahon