Hedpe @ The Annex,  Madison, Wi 09/25/2018

Having seen Hedpe back in 2000, I honesty had no expectations walking into the venue this time. Already knowing they give it their all I just wanted to hear a nice mix of songs across all of their catalog. The Annex once again is a nice room with rad sound and excellent lighting. Midwest Mix-up guru Jake Olson always comes through on his produced shows.

Having purposely walked into the venue early to watch the 3 local openers it never ceases to amaze me as the level of talent around town. The touring support Mammothor came out and banged their songs one by one with the crowd eating them up. The bill was quite the mix. Hip hop to rock to 80s rock. 

Hedpe were everything I remembered them to be from back in the day. The crowd of a few hundred people sang from open to close.  Stepping onto the stage from the left and giving those notorious hard stares, Jahred gives pleasantries to those in attendance and leads right into “Killing Time” with an emphatic growl and head bang. The ever so noticeable chorus of “Just Killin Time” sung by guitarist DJ Blackard and bassist Kurt Blakenship filled the room. A powerful intro to what will be a pretty awesome show. Slowing the show down and creating a bit more reggae version of “Let’s Ride” was a creative surprise. The song was clearly dependent upon Jahreds ability to rap while telling a story. The ability of an artist to manipulate their own art over time to fit their interpretation in and ever changing World will always stick with me. 

After banging out fan favorites “Black Out” and a more riveting version of “Swan Dive”. Came the middle of the show where the band headed into the more “adult” part of their catalog. Spending plenty of time conversing with the crowd and sharing plenty of laughs and stories. Hedpe drummer Jeremiah Stratton a.k.a. Trauma laid down the beat for three songs that needed that strength and pop that only he could provide. “CBC”, “Crazy Legs” and “Comeova2nite” do nothing but make you bounce to the beat and try to keep up with the lyrics. You feel it so much more live than listening to them on disc. Backing those songs with a much more subdued and rastafied “Sophia” still had its punk filled moments, but the appreciation tune seemed to fit at that point. From there Jahred walked off stage and we headed into a small encore break. 

Hedpe were so tight. The band sounded like they have been playing together for years. After the band regroups on stage they bust straight into their biggest hit to date “Bartender”. With Jahred flowing with absolute precision the room was bouncing up and down singing word for word. His unique screams filled the air. Trauma smash his kit emphatically while providing some great facial expressions for the camera. “Renegade” and “Waiting to Die” closed it out. I lost my voice from singing. Nothing like jamming to songs that take you back to a time in your life when all you did was listen to music and go to shows. I clearly wasn’t the only one. Hands flailing, heads banging and bodies moving best describes the entire encore.  

With the entire stage paint in straight blue and red lighting all evening it made the photography end of things  bit tricky. I was always told to be better than your gear, so I pushed its limits. Despite that the concert itself kicked major ass. I’m looking forward towards their 2019 return to Madison with a new album in tow.
1. Killing Time
2. Lets Ride
3. Blackout
4. Swan Dive
5. CBC
6. Crazy Legs
7. Comeova2nite
8. Raise Hell
9. Sophia
10. Bartender
11. Renegade
12. Waiting to Die

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