Last minute reminder: tomorrow night, Minneapolis MC Brother Ali comes to the Industry as part of his Fresh Air Tour, which features fellow Rhymesayers MCs Evidence and Toki Wright, and his DJ BK-One. Brother Ali’s new album Us, just came out this week. As before, Ant of Atmosphere handled the production. Ali has come under fire in the past for his frequently politically charged music, particularly “Uncle Sam Goddamn,” which caused ire with some corporate tour sponsors. I haven’t heard the new one yet, but based on prior output, I’d expect a similarly consistent piece of underground rap. What’s more intriguing about this show, though, is that it represents a turning point for the Industry, who have yet to to host the kind of event the crosses over with mainstream and alternative audiences. Earlier this summer, the Daily Iowan ran an article about the Industry’s show featuring novelty rapper Chingy, in which manager Prity Kumar stated, “We wanted to bring mainstream music to Iowa City, because there’s finally a locally owned, not a city-owned or university-owned venue, where we can house and host acts of this caliber.”
This Brother Ali show serves as something of a litmus test for the club – can it sustain this kind of show? Chingy is one thing, but what about the kind of bands that generally skip the Iowa City market? Critically acclaimed bands that have crossed over enough to have a far-reaching audience – I’m thinking bands like Grizzly Bear – generally skip Iowa City. If Brother Ali does well, it could be a breakthrough, because as the article intuits, there’s not a music venue big enough to play host to these acts that isn’t university owned or funded. Could the Industry be that venue? Thursday night may be a crystal ball.
Who: Brother Ali with Evidence, Toki Wright, and BK-One
Where: The Industry
When: September 24, 6pm
How Much: $15/$16 under 21