Kyprios & Animal Nation bring the West Coast, East
The one and only Kyprios – best known for his tenure with Sweatshop Union – and two of the most zealous rappers and spinners from Animal Nation – Garnet Clare and Mike Armitage – just kept the place live from doors to last call.
Hailing from B.C., both acts have carved their names into the ranks of the elite when it comes to underground Canadian hip-hop.
Stoked to be headlining his own tour, dubbed the Midnight Sun Tour for obvious reason, Kyprios says he couldn’t be happier with the result of the new album, as it’s been his most diligently and meticulously crafted record to date.
Kyprios couldn’t be happier with the result of this new record.
“Oh my God, I’ve got a lot of records behind me,” said Kyprios. “Four with Sweatshop, this is really my fifth record. It took the longest and has been the biggest labour of love for me in my career. This one took a lot of care, heart and effort. I’m the most proud of it.”Touring from coast to coast, in support of both Kyprios and Animal Nation’s new album and Sly Business has been a blast for Clare and Armitage, and Kyprios says that it’s been nothing but good times representing the west coast together.
“Those guys are simply fun as hell to tour with,” said Kyprios.
“It’s always me and Mike, doing what we do. We’re stoked about this tour and album, it’s been done for about 8 months but we finally just got them pressed, we ran into some money finally, so this is a big deal for us,” said Clare.
This is going to be a crazy few months coming for Animal Nation, after they finish this tour with Kyprios in mid April, then then in turn start another tour with yet another legendary hip-hop syndicate from the west coast. They will tour coast to coast alongside Swollen Members supporting the Brand New Day Tour.
“Next up we’re touring with Swollen Members, they’re one of the greatest live shows I’ve ever seen,” said Clare. “I feel like their fans gave up on them for a little while, but in the last few years, they’ve come back harder than ever.”The night opened up with ease as patrons took in the chill vibes being spun on the ones and twos by Armitage. He was mixing together some old school classics like Jurassic 5’s “What’s Golden.” to Gangstarr’s “Full Clip.”
After he was done warming up the crowd, which was roughly from 8 p.m. to 10, the place was starting to look a little tighter with the room filling up slowly.
Then came on Animal Nation in full effect. With the spinning skills of Armitage, and the lyrical prowess of Clare, Animal Nation is one fun and spunky, namely funky duo. Throughout the set the two changed up styles, exchanged lyrics, and switched back and forth between microphones and turntables. Clare even threw down the eccentric track “Bacon & Eggs” from his solo endeavor Tall Man 2: Every Day in the Life.
“This show was crazy, this tour is non-stop. We’re on stage with De La Soul in Whistler in between the two tours and I have a week to spend at home before going back out with Swollen Members.”
Clare admitted that this is the first time he’s felt reservations at heart about touring. “I met this girl I really like now, so it’s difficult being away from home.”
Next up was an unexpected little surprise in the genre department. A band called CANVAS from Toronto, a sound self-defined as “Electro-Springsteen meets Grouplove.” Although that says a lot of the new indie-rock brainchild of frontman and guitarist Chris Graham, their sound leaves something to be discovered and admired by all. At times slow and soothing, to other moments of pure passion and rock blitzing, they’re an auditory rollercoaster of musical euphoria.
There’s always a certain appeal that comes from girl-guy bands like this. The girls – Rachael Kennedy on strings and Loryn Taggart on keys – bring a smooth and sensitive touch to the ambiance they create, while Andrew Thomas on Bass and Mike Wood on drums drive home a rhythm that resonates for days.After CANVAS tore up the 3030 and tore down their set, they took a seat by the merch stand to make way for the main event, Kyprios.
As Kyprios came on, the lights dimmed and the crowd cheered for a man who’s been spitting rhymes on the Canadian circuit for two decades now.Playing beloved classics of his in combination of new and unheard tracks from his latest album Midnight Sun, Kyprios kept the audience on their feet and singing along. Kyprios admitted before the show that Toronto always gives him butterflies.
“Toronto gives me the second most anxiety next to playing in my hometown. Not only do I have an immense respect for the musical culture and artists of Toronto, but that comes with a responsibility to keep your audience happy.”
Clare jumped on the turntables and started spinning and mixing tracks and samples as Kyprios laid out his lyrical layers, changing it up between fast and slow tunes.
As Kyprios closed off his set, he introduced another west coast rapper making a special guest appearance, he goes by the moniker Stage, and that’s where he worked his magic until he closed the 3030 down.
Story by Devin Size, photos by Charlie Lindsay