Four years ago, I was still in high school, and tickets to FYF FEST were only 100 bucks. FYF was the first music festival I ever attended and I went with a group of friends and my brother, Joe. On the second day, we split up; Joe went to see The Underachievers and I chose to see Mac Demarco because I was an angsty little teen. I do not regret my decision, despite what you might think. But, after the festival my brother was hooked, and we started listening to the Underachievers nonstop in our beat up Jeep. I remember watching the Brooklyn duo reppin’ Los Angeles in the “The Mahdi” music video. I became obsessed–the connection between Issa Gold and AK is addicting, and their unique voices, lyrical intelligence, and psychedelic beats create an unusual musical experience. In a way their music is a paradox, making you feel relaxed and energized simultaneously. The result evokes the feeling of wanting to smoke a blunt but also chug a forty at the same damn time.
Four years later, the Jeep is gone, I no longer live in LA, and my brother is one hundred miles away. I had forgotten about the Underachievers until they release their Renaissance album featuring the songs “Crescendo” and “Gotham Nights”. Both incredible songs with motifs of early hip hop and unreal visuals. I’m thinking where the fuck have they been and consequently, I’m captivated. The Underachievers’ release the “Renaissance Tour” dates and there is a stop in Berkeley at Cornerstone Craft Beer and Live Music. Four years later, and I was finally going to make up for missing them at FYF.
The Underachievers lived up to my expectations. Issa Gold and AK’s chemistry on stage was just how I had imagined: fluid and effortless. The only issues came from the crowd of drunk Berkeley kids who could not hang. Although it was not a sold out show, the energy in the room felt encapsulating. The mosh was aggressive but moved like a wave across the pit. At one moment an audience member crowd surfed his way on stage, but, not knowing what to do next, stood there and danced awkwardly while Issa Gold casually laughed. The stage vibrated as Issa and AK crisscrossed across the floor. Their aggressive delivery was not intimidating but rather welcoming. Their sound is reminiscent of old school hip hop, therefore, transporting everyone back in time. The night ended with a new song, an encore, and a couple of blunts. Thanks to the UA for killing it. Until we meet again – hopefully this time around it won’t be four years.
Photos and Article by Fiona Duerr