For the people of Mankato, Minnesota, the 4th of September was more than just Force Friday, it was JustSmoke Day. That’s the annual celebration of the day JustSmoke came to Earth. Or his birthday. Or the birthday of a guy called Nutz or Fuzz or maybe Justin. Nah, can’t be Justin.
Anyway, JustSmoke Day manifests itself as one of the biggest and best showing of local and local-ish music of the year. The lineup this year was certainly no disappointment.
Of particular note here is the style biters, who hadn’t played a show since this same event a year ago, though I’m told they may be doing stuff more regularly again soon. They were a little rusty but entertaining as always. The also don’t have a drummer at the moment, so their set was very much like the early days of the band with just Sea Dubbz and Alex singing/shouting/rapping over a track. That made me feel a little nostalgic. If you have the time, I suggest you check them out. They have some recorded music online and there are numerous videos of them on YouTube (I’m probably even visible in a few). None of that really does justice to the live show.
From then on (since CCWD took the opening slot) was a showcase of Mankato hip-hop, including my personal favorite, Professor Fresh. Fresh does not disappoint. Ever. It’s something that lies outside his skill set. He’s got quite a bit of music online and I suggest you listen to it and buy it all. Even if you think you don’t like rap music, give it a shot. I’ve gotten a few people who said they hated rap into the local scene through his music. Real hip-hop isn’t played on the radio.
Anyhow, this was the fifth annual JustSmoke Day and I’m sure there will be more. If you ever find yourself in the Mankato area around this time of year, you should really try to make it out. We may not have shows like this as often as we used to, but when it happens it is still a thing not to be missed.
Do you have any favorite local musicians in your area? If so, let me know in the comments and maybe link me to their website or Facebook page. I’m always open to new music.