Where: It’s a Kling Thing!
When: November 14, 2016
Time: 7:00 PM
Floco Torres (Courtesy of Chris Horne)
There are about a half dozen of them scattered around Akron; nondescript houses by day, DIY music venues by night. It’s a Kling Thing! is one of them. Just on the periphery of the main campus of the University of Akron, the Kling house is rather ordinary in appearance. The front yard is neat and trim. There is a warm glow emanating from the front windows. But if you walk up the driveway, enter through the side door, and make a hard right down the steps to the basement, you enter another world.
White cabinets that have been stenciled with the venue name and a crude cityscape serve as stage decoration. A lone microphone stand is positioned in the middle of the room. To the left, a DJ has set up his laptop in front of a washer. The right side of the room contains a dryer with speakers stacked on top of them. Orange extension cords crisscross the floor. A cute redhead is making her way through the crowd passing out stickers that she designed herself. The basement is full of people. The space is snug but the vibe is chill.
Usually, the music alone is the draw for these type of shows. Tonight is a little different. Floco Torres will be performing. There is a buzz in the crowd.
Hot Like The Sun
Torres takes the stage just after ten o’clock. Dressed in black from head-to-toe, the Philly emcee–by way of Macon, GA.–galloped through a six-song set of infectious hip-hop.
He is a bit of a triple threat. He is a story-teller rapper who can still deliver a banger. He has a nice clean flow that he ratchets down to a gravelly bark when needed. And, perhaps most importantly, he is stacked with charisma. He has a contagious smile and positive demeanor that commands attention.
…we throw a party at Kling and the shit crack…
Voted the best local hip-hop artist four years in a row in Macon, I sense shades of other emcees in him. He has the evocative shrug of Kid Cudi and the soulful warmth, sans the overt spirituality, of Brother Ali.
Even during songs like “’87 911” where Torres recounts his aspiration of owning a Porsche, he comes off hopeful, not materialistic. His content is more dreamy than lustful. Most rappers tend to trip over braggadocio on their way to success.
Torres confirmed the rumor circulating that he will be relocating to Akron in January. He played his last hometown gig in October.
It seems like a prudent decision. After years of polishing his act in the relatively insulated Macon scene, now he will be within driving distance of Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, Chicago, and Detroit–not to mention the Akron scene which is low-key white hot.
Torres mesmerized the small but furious crowd. The set felt short but left everyone with the feeling that there will be much more to come.
It’s often said that you only get one chance to make a first impression. Torres didn’t make an impression, he made a statement.
My Bars Are Excellent, My Cars Are Excellent
Boy Kudzi (Akron) started the evening with a short, tight set of hip-hop. He has a contemporary swag that provided just the right note to begin the evening.
LuvAbstract (Akron) was up to bat next. With a name like “LuvAbstract,” I was expecting straight RnB, but Abstract is a versatile rapper. He worked hard on stage and delivered some catchy hooks. He had the crowd in the palm of his hands by the end of the set.
Joey Sprinkles (Akron). Sprinkles was probably the most compelling of the supporting acts. Performing after Torres, he played a scratchy, fuzzy set of garage-punk-pop over a grouchy electric guitar and whining keyboard. Visually, he is clean cut, but his music leans toward experimental and is oddly catchy.
-Zep the Bear