Sage Francis

True Endeavors Presents / WORT & JONK Welcomes:

Sage Francis

B. Dolan, F. Stokes

Friday, June 6th 2014

10:00 pm

$17 adv / $20 dos

Tickets at the Door

This event is 18 and over

Sage Francis
Sage Francis
Sage Francis is widely considered one of our generation's greatest lyricists. His career derives mainly from gifted wordplay which creates vivid narratives to instigate as well as inspire, but since it often derives from an accumulation of public disdain and personal turmoil, it's made abundantly clear that it's more about storming the castle than watching the throne.

Dubbed as the "forefather of indie-hop," Francis originally earned acclaim in the early 2000's by winning the most highly coveted titles of the emcee battle circuit. With little to no funding, Francis sustained himself by selling his innovative “Sick of” mixtapes, all made by hand on the floor of his Providence, RI apartment. These were essentially bootleg compilations full of select recordings from his 12” vinyl singles, demo sessions, live performances and radio freestyles. The popularity of these tapes birthed Strange Famous Records (SFR); a meager, one-man operation in 1999.

Despite having no official distribution, Francis' unique brand of music spread like wildfire via the advent of file sharing networks. This resulted in him attaining a massive cult-like following around the world, creating a demand for his albums and live performances at which point the bigger labels took notice. With his first studio album, Personal Journals (2002,) Francis daringly set aside the more boastful side of rap by catering to his poetic leanings and scathing socio-political commentary.

In 2005 Sage Francis was the first hip-hop artist signed to Epitaph Records and soon became one of the highest selling independent artists of his genre. Rather than abandon his day-to-day grind at SFR, he channeled all of his newfound resources into it, allowing the label to expand in staff as well as roster. Having fulfilled the three-album contract deal with Epitaph, Sage Francis has returned to releasing music independently as he gears up to defeat the odds once more.

The "SICK TO D(EAT)H" mixtape dropped on in December of 2013, which will be followed up by the next official album, COPPER GONE, in June of 2014.
B. Dolan
B. Dolan
The last time we heard from B. Dolan he was writing to us from a bomb shelter as the world ripped apart at the seams. On his newest album “Fallen House, Sunken City” he joins up with legendary indie-rap beatsmith ALIAS to survey the aftermath.

Dolan has already established himself as a master storyteller, but this time through he presents us with a full-throttle, unabashed, boombap hiphop record. You know, the kind of hiphop that was too grimy for mass consumption so it was declared “dead” by the unelected powers that be? With Alias behind the production board, B. Dolan’s aggressive delivery is accentuated by a special brand of bass-heavy breakbeats while the tailor made musical backdrops assist in the mood of impending doom.

As the title of the album may suggest, there is a fair amount of cynical content here, but that doesn’t mean the lyrics are wholly devoid of redemption. That would be too easy. What makes B. Dolan particularly unique as a lyricist is his ability to have philosophical underpinnings to every song without preachiness getting in the way of his art. The opening track, “Leaving NY,” is a great example of this technique. It balances the literal with the metaphorical and never tells the listener what they should or shouldn’t feel. The song has a truth of it’s own. In fact, that truth and message can easily be taken as the mission statement of “Fallen House, Sunken City.”

In 1999 B. Dolan moved from Rhode Island to NYC to pursue his passion. He had been writing and rapping for years, but Brooklyn’s Nuyorican Poets Cafe introduced him to spoken word which is when his career as a stage performer began. Finding himself on hard times he slept on park benches and subway trains before scoring a job as a doorman at a building that happened to be in close proximity to the Twin Towers. Just as he began piecing his life together the 9/11 attacks happened, leaving him in a paranoid mental state which ultimately resulted in his self-imposed exile from the birthplace of hiphop.

“Was I a coward to abandon the broken down mechanics / that crowned Biggie Smalls as the King of Atlantis?”

The move back to RI in 2002 proved to be a wise one for Dolan. Over the next few years hhe tapped into the local arts community, volunteered for at-risk youth programs, created the consumer activist website, teamed up with Sage Francis, signed to Strange Famous Records and toured relentlessly from 2005 onward (most notably the Paid Dues Tour 2008 and Rock the Bells Tour 2009.)

It was on Sage Francis’ “Death Dance Tour” in 2007 that Alias and Dolan first conceived the idea of working on a full album together. Although Alias’ production is rooted in 90′s era hiphop, he had never produced a full rap album for anyone. In fact his production style had taken a turn toward more down tempo ambient-driven instrumentals by the early 2000′s. When the prospect of doing a full album with B. Dolan was presented, he took it as a challenge and an opportunity to fire up his MPC and return to a more traditional hiphop form.

It took two years of relentless work to mold the kind of album that not only avoids the spectrum of hiphop cliches, but downright destroys them. The true value of this record, however, is not in finger-wagging nostalgia for a lost golden era. At its heart, “Fallen House, Sunken City” is a record full of focused experimentation that would rather lead by example than romance the dead. “Economy of Words” finds Alias executing dubstep rhythms, “Body of Work” has Dolan exploring the mindset of a sex worker, and “Border Crossing” has a Providence marching band playing throughout.

Unlikely as it is, the two New England natives have crafted a sound rooted with authority in the best traditions of hiphop, with enough irreverence, energy, and vision to deface its tombstone and reanimate the corpse. This is post-rap, psychedelic-hop horrorcore politics.
F. Stokes
F. Stokes
F.Stokes is a man of fluidity. Planting roots during very trying and limiting circumstances, he has extended his story into a pan-continental epic about the triumph of human possibility.

Stokes tells this story with puncturing imagery and glass-like clarity as he looks at the world through the lens of his family’s shared experiences. Growing into early adolescence in the Southside of Chicago, F.Stokes shared his home with people who lived on the edge of violent death, poverty, and ghosts of abuse and addiction. With F.Stokes’ father in prison for life and no prospect of any improvement for her life or that of her six children, F.Stokes’ mother escaped from Chicago’s south side. A few plastic bags of clothes and hope for change were all that F.Stokes carried into the Madison, WI, Salvation Army where his family would spend the first night of their new life.

Having a best friend in writing since he was able to form sentences on paper, F.Stokes would grow to be the poet he is through storytelling. Though Chicago felt far away, when F.Stokes moved into the Truex Apartments, he recognized the threat of an institutional life was still nipping at his heels. The tile floor of his home was the same he would see at Madison West High, pressuring him with ideas of who he needed to be, and how he should conform when facing the same frightening consequences as those left in Chicago. Young Stokes started to form a personality that would channel all the rage and fear into an identity revered city-wide. Convinced his story was not done and could not be contained by any geographic location, F.Stokes sought a potential in global connection. Though traveling the world frequently, F.Stokes has made his home in New York City for the last decade.

F.Stokes saw an opportunity for his pilgrimage to be met with a world of possibility and reward. While working a bathroom attendant position, his boss would become a catalyst in forever changing the man Stokes perceived himself to be. He began pursuing the attention of people who could help him reach a wider audience while also laying his own plans out and attracting a loyal following. He was growing both as a man and an artist, looking for inspiration from the shapers of the Harlem Renaissance: jazz eccentrics and visionaries like Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie, who came to The City to revitalize themselves and, ultimately, the world. Like these artists, Stokes found great reception in Europe, touring on album releases since 2009 – including 2010’s Death of a Handsome Bride, 2011’s Baked Goods Mixtape, 2012’s Love Always and 2013’s Fearless Beauty. Stokes’ has performed the prestigious Montreal Jazz Festival, The Essence Festival, Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival, Summer Set Festival – and has shared bills with Nas, Mos Def, Pusha T, Sean P, Bastille, Erykah Badu, P.O.S., Ryan Leslie, Stalley, Red Man, DMX.

Stokes work has been featured in the XXL Magazine, VICE, MTV, HiphopDX, Brooklyn Bodega, The Source Magazine, and Village Voice to name a few. Alliances and sponsorships include Red Bull and VANS.
Venue Information:
High Noon Saloon
701A E. Washington Ave
Madison, WI, 53703