Twenty nineteen seems to be shaping up to be a great year for Phony Ppl. 

Hot of the heels of performances in Seoul and Berlin (which included a performance on Colors), the headlining Bay Area stopover on February 24th served as proof that Phony Ppl carved a lane for themselves that everyone is embracing wholeheartedly. 

Who is Phony Ppl?

Hailing from Brooklyn, New York and described as a stylistically adventurous band rooted in R&B and hip-hop, their music lives outside of the box. Since the early 2000’s they have played some pretty damn good music together. Their creativity draws in and transforms various musical stylings into an engrossing and entertaining sound that cannot be categorized into one genre. No matter how you categorize Phony Ppl though, one thing is for sure, their music is full of soul. 

Phony Ppl performing their opening number in front of a sold out show at 111 Minna Gallery

Live and Direct at Minna Gallery 

To start, Phony’ Ppl’s opening act Austin Prince held his own. He performed a set of original songs and a cover of Rex Orange County’s “Loving is Easy” with a climactic end that involved costuming of the avian kind. I fux with it. 

Austin Prince Performing at 111 Minna Gallery

Austin Prince Performing at 111 Minna GalleryPhony Ppl’s set for the sold out show included a combination of songs from their recent release Mō’zā-ik and 2015 release, Yesterday’s Tomorrow. With that said, one does not go to see a live band solely for exact renditions of their favorite songs. No on the contrary, the primary reason to see a Phony Ppl live set is the opportunity to hear how the band recreates and reinterprets established classics and new releases.

Collectively, Phony Ppl gets down. Phony Ppl’s jam session took me on a transcendental adventure in the land of music. To boot, refined artistry, improvisation and cohesiveness were palpable with each respective solo.  Matt Byas solo during Phony Ppl Performance at Minna GalleryDuring Matt Byas’ drum solo, guitarist Elijah Rawk drew up wind chimes seemingly out of thin air, just within Matt’s reach, allowing him to break from his intense unyielding drumming wizardry to incorporate a sweet caress of the chimes, which was met with amusement by both band members and the crowd.  

In a solo break from “Cookie Crumble”, Elijah played chords from OutKast’s, “So Fresh, So Clean” before shredding the guitar behind his head. Elijah Rawk's solo performance during Phony Ppl show at Minna Gallery

Elijah and Bari performing at the sold out Phony Ppl show at Minna Gallery
Bari Bass brought heart-thumping strums all the while with a gleaming smile during his solo performance of “Move Her Mind”. 
Bari Bass performing during Phony Ppl performance at 111 Minna Gallery
Aja Grant acted as a bridge between classical and modern-day standards with his solo adventure which lead up to the first notes of “Why iii Love the Moon”, which was coupled with Elbee’s earnest and warm lyricism that sparked joy, reflection and connection. Please believe folks in the crowd met eyes and shared approving expressions with the introductory notes of these familiar melodies.  
Elbie Thrie singing at Phony Ppl show at Minna Gallery
The vibrant energy lived through the entire set and from wall to wall. The appreciation for the band was felt when a fan gave Elbee a single yellow rose. He warmly accepted and positioned it on his mic stand for the rest of the night. It was truly an amazing evening. 
Elbee Thrie at Minna Gallery

Shout out to Blank Cassette Music and Flower Co. for sponsoring this event. If you are in the Bay Area, definitely check out Blank Cassette Music. There you can get information on up and coming hip hop, electronic and pop artists they feature at their showcases. After this experience, I am looking forward to what Blank Cassette Music, Phony Ppl and Austin Prince have in store this year, and you should to. 

For more information on Phony Ppl and the album I am playing repeatedly, check out their website

Check out all things Blank Cassette Music related here.  

For all things Austin Price, check out his website.  

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