TKLB?, The Woodworks, Playboy Manbaby, The Insects - Long Wong's - 1/31/14

Kalen Lander of TKLB performs with The Woodworks last night at Long Wong's in Tempe.
Kalen Lander of TKLB performs with The Woodworks last night at Long Wong's in Tempe.
Photos by Jeff Moses

TKLB? F-Bom Residency Long Wong's 1/31/14

Kalen Lander, known to many in the local music scene as TKLB?, wrapped up his Friday "F-Bom" residency at Long Wong's Tempe last night, and it was quite the epic finale. The Tempe indie rapper, who's the brother of The Sugar Thieves' Mikel Lander, brought out the big guns for the occasion, including openers Playboy Manbaby, The Woodworks, and The Insects.

Playboy Manbaby was playing sans trumpeter David Cosme, but they still managed to sound great. The room was fairly empty and lead singer Robbie Pfeffer repeatedly rambled on about the night being a grown man's bar mitzvah and shimmied around the stage while wrapping the microphone around himself.

The Woodworks followed up, and they are definitely going to be doing big things in the near future. It is hard to put a finger on exactly what genre they are, but whatever it is, it sounds great. "I did not understand why they were called The Woodworks until that last song," says Josh Wyric, who was in the audience. "It had like metal, and funk, and folk, and blues. They're The Woodworks because they have everything right."

The genreless three-piece played a really strong set, and much of the strength of their sound was born from their giant of a bass player. The big man, in stylish sandals, was not much for bantering with the crowd, but he certainly had no problem letting his fingers do the talking with his bass solos.

The Woodworks also laid down a funky beat at one point and invited their host TKLB? on stage to kick a freestyle, to which he happily obliged.

The Woodworks last night at Long Wong's in Tempe.
The Woodworks last night at Long Wong's in Tempe.


The Insects last night at Long Wong's in Tempe.
The Insects last night at Long Wong's in Tempe.

Tempe based hip-hoppers The Insects took the stage next, and according to their live painter, Dumperfoo, the stalwart hip-hop three-piece had not practiced in more than a month. Dumper even admitted he had not seen the group's DJ, Foundation, during that entire time period. But that only helped to further prove that The Insects are in a class of their own in the local hip-hop world.

Though the group had not practiced or performed together in a lengthy amount of time they still had no problem lighting up the room with new tracks off of their most recent release Black Rose. As well as old favorites like "Funky Sweater" which they opened with, "Devil's Is Scared," "Another Trip Around The Sun," and "Creator."

On the second-to-last song, The Insects brought up a surprise performer in indigenous rapper Optimal, and DJ Foundation played an instrumental that Brad B. and Optimal took turns spitting over. The energy The Insects brought to the room was electric and the electric pink and blue skull painting Dumper made during the set was beautiful.

TKLB? Was last and they had by far the most stage production of all the evening's performer. He, along with DJ Stoner, brought some light-up string, skull lights, as well as a chained-up alien doll in front of the DJ's station.

Lander moved around the stage performing his tongue-in-cheek hip-hop songs and evidently had no lack of energy in playing his fifth Friday night in a row at the Tempe dive. His facial expressions were priceless.

For the last night of a five-week residency that already has included Japhy's Descent, Fairy Bones, Future Loves Past, and many more of the Valley's hottest acts shutting it down with one of the local music scene's hottest acts right now (Playboy Manbaby), an obvious up-and-comer (The Woodworks), and one of the more more esteemed hip-hop acts in metro Phoenix (The Insects) was a good way to go out.

Critics Notebook:

Last Night: TKLB? F-Bom Residency feat. The Insects, The Woodworks, and Playboy Manbaby at Long Wongs Tempe

Personal Bias: I think The Insects are the best local hip-hop group and seriously underrated as one of the best musical acts in the Valley.

The Crowd: Was not all ages. LAME!

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