Words & Photos by Mike Mauger

Whereas many artists will go on tour to support a new album, Aesop Rock releases albums to support his live show. Now living in California, Aesop doesn’t get out on the East Coast much, but when he does, he rocks it. Take for example, his show with Rob Sonic and DJ Big Wiz at Union Transfer on Saturday August 4th. The energy at the relatively new venue on Spring Garden street in Philadelphia was palpable before I even got in the doors.

Openers Dark Time Sunshinekicked things off with a bang, but it was beat producer Edison out of San Fransisco that almost stole the show before it even started. Armed with only a MACbook and a monome, Edison came to the stage ready to have the audience headbang to his innovative instrumental hip hop. You can check his stuff out all over youtube and at Aesop Rock’s online art resource and collective, 900bats.com.

But of course, Aesop Rock, Rob Sonic and DJ Big Wiz reminded the audience why they were there in the first place, and wowed the crowd with a combination of tracks off of Aesop’s newest release, Skelethon, the trio’s collaborative project Hail Mary Mallon’s album Are You Gonna Eat That, as well as some never before heard Rob Sonic’s originals.

As has been a staple on the Skelethon Tour, fans got a chance to sign up for a hair cut, courtesy of Dark Time Sunshine, during the performance of his ode to haircuts, “Racing Stripes.” The lucky fan at this Philly stop, Miranda Flood, proved to be only the third girl to get a cut on the tour, causing many fans to compliment her for her “serious lady balls,” as she proceeded to get a mohawk live on stage.

After a rousing set of mostly Skelethon smashes, Aesop came back out to play some old crowd favorites, “Big Bang,” and then a mash up of “Daylight” and its partner in crime, “Nightlight.”

If you missed Aesop’s Philadelphia stop, check out aesoprock.com for more tour dates, and check out his latest record, Skelethon, available through Minnesota indie rap label Rhymesayers. If you’re not sold yet, no worries, thanks to Rhymesayers, you can listen to the album in its entirety while riding along on some go karts in this video —> http://youtu.be/CYNBOAoXReQ