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Knitting Factory returns with Webby

Fri., March 1, 2013, midnight

It was music to the ears of concertgoers when the Knitting Factory announced last week that the police’s mandated shut down had been lifted.

That means music fans won’t miss out on acts that might have skipped Spokane otherwise, such as Owl City, Josh Ritter and Saturday’s headliner, Chris Webby.

Hailed as unsigned hype, Webby refuses to be blown off as simply another white rapper from suburbs.

The Connecticut hip-hopper went from battling emcees at frat parties to releasing a relentless run of mixtapes that garnered national attention.

Born Christian Webster, Chris Webby had dreamed about being a rapper since sixth grade, inspired by Eminem that he could make it in hip-hop despite racial stereotypes.

Webby proved he was more than a novelty when we released six full-length mixtapes – all recorded in his friend’s basement – in less than two years. He released his first mixtape, “The White Noise LP,” in 2009, followed five months later by “Teenage Mutant Ninja Rapper.” In 2010 Webby released “Optimus Rhyme,” “The Underclassmen,” and “Best in the Burbs.” Then came 2011’s “Webster’s Laboratory.” Webby finished 2011 with his first proper release, the EP “There Goes the Neighborhood,” which debuted atop the iTunes hip-hop charts.

Webby came back in 2012 with yet another mixtape, “Bars On Me,” with the added street cred of appearances by Wu-Tang Clan’s Method Man, and Prodigy of Mobb Deep.

With a style that oozes charisma, Webby leans heavy on nerdy pop-culture literacy to color his crafty lyricism. He is known for his inked body, with tattoos referencing “Mortal Kombat,” “Super Mario Bros.” and “Transformers,” illustrating his love for video games and ’90s nostalgia.

When you hear Webby’s music, it’s plain there’s more than meets the eye.

As Webby says in his online bio: “I’m just a white boy with a dream, so if you want to keep supporting me, I appreciate all the lovin. And if you don’t, I’m mad tight with Optimus Prime so sleep with one eye open.”

Driving the Road Home

As co-vocalist and guitarist for experimental outfit Neurosis, Scott Kelly has never been one to color within the lines.

Over the course of three decades and 13 albums, Kelly and company have pushed their music in different directions, amassing hyphenated titles – post-metal, sludge-metal, doom-metal, industrial-metal, avant garde-metal and hardcore punk-rock.

Kelly has taken his anti-genre inclinations even further with his various solo outings and side projects.

His 2001 solo debut, “Spirit Bound Flesh” marked not a departure, but a retreat into elements of country music and dark Americana that soon after found him as chief songwriter and bandleader of Blood and Time, which featured Neurosis keyboardist Noah Landis.

By releasing multiple albums, Kelly has refined his own acoustic style. And now he’s built a band around it, Scott Kelly and the Road Home.

The Road Home features Landis and Greg Dale accompanying Kelly on carefully crafted arrangements that often revolve around gospel-like church organ, electric guitar and selective drums and percussion.

Scott Kelly and the Road Home’s 2012 release, “The Forgiven Ghost In Me” veers from utterly unpretentious folk hymnals to sprawling, dual electric guitar compositions, and yet Kelly’s gravely vocals stand at the forefront throughout the album from start to finish. 

Scott Kelly and the Road Home appears with Ian Miles and John K. on Thursday at 9:30 p.m. at Mootsy’s, 406 W. Sprague Ave. Cost: $5.

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