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Matson on Music

Music news, concert reviews, analysis and opinion by music writer Andrew Matson.

January 12, 2010 at 3:39 PM

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Mad Rad un-banned from Neumos, to play free concert *UPDATED

Posted by Andrew Matson

Following an altercation with club security last January, local rap/electro-pop quartet Mad Rad was banned from Capitol Hill nightclub Neumos. Now the band and venue are friendly again and putting on a free concert Thursday, Jan. 21.

Nobody wants to talk about the incident now, but reportedly, it was a fight that ended with three-fourths of Mad Rad pinned to the ground and sent to jail for a night.

Out of neighborhood club-owner solidarity, an initial ban from Neumos quickly turned into a six-business coalition lockout which more or less embargoed Mad Rad from Capitol Hill, its home turf for performing.

Mad Rad's ostensible exile began that winter and extended into spring, and during that time the group became a movement, playing concerts places besides Capitol Hill with desperate, borderline destructive energy that felt illegal and bred hot gossip. The word wasn't "Mad Rad is the best" but "You need to go to a concert."

When the Comet Tavern booked the group for its first post-incident Capitol Hill appearance last May (across the street from Neumo's, at that point still upholding the ban), the raucous, sell-out show made Mad Rad seem temporarily unstoppable, like a militia that ruled the neighborhood.

Found not guilty a month later on charges of assault and trespassing stemming from the Neumos kick-out, Mad Rad designed a T-shirt with O.J. Simpson's mug shot on it and the tag "Mad Rad Not Guilty" and sold it around town at concerts and in stores. That was the victory lap.

mad rad.jpg
Image from outforstardom.blogspot

Then a high-profile Halloween engagement alongside now-Mayor Mike McGinn at The War Room signaled the coalition ban was rescinded, and also that Mad Rad was perhaps re-branding itself with a more "respectable" image.

Headlining the Crocodile in December, the group anchored a night of six performances and delivered something slightly more composed than the unhinged spectacle at The Comet in May.

Now that presumably the hell-raising days are behind P Smoov, Buffalo Madonna, Terry Radjaw and DJ Darwin, it'll be interesting to see if they can keep generating as much interest with their music as with their previous antics. At the Neumo's concert, attendees can expect a youthful, co-ed, adult-themed dance party that will most likely peak with the pot-n-sex war march "Crack the Blunt." New material may also be performed, which is said to be more varied in energy level, and involve more singing than 2008 album "White Gold."

Over a ginger ale last week at Neumo's attendant Moe Bar, Mad Rad producer/vocalist P Smoov (Peter Robinson) calmly explains the ban was lifted without fanfare; nobody offered Mad Rad an apology. Even though he and band-mates Buffalo Madonna (Nate Quiroga) and DJ Darwin (Ty Finnan) spent a night in jail after "the incident," Smoov says Mad Rad never held a grudge against Neumo's staff or owner Steven Severin.

Indeed, immediately following my interview with Smoov and Madonna (and manager Kerri Harrop, not a fixture at the time of the ban), we walk out of Moe Bar onto 10th Avenue and run right into Mr. Severin himself, and a pleasant meeting ensues. No sign of bad blood between artists and club owner. It's like the whole thing never happened.

*This article was altered to reflect the correct date of the Crocodile concert and also DJ Darwin's last name, which is Finnan and not "Finn."

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