Thesis Sahib Kuppajo Espresso Bar, Sudbury ON, August 12

Thesis Sahib Kuppajo Espresso Bar, Sudbury ON, August 12
Photo: Eric Noble-Marks
"I'm gonna play some Nintendo and do some rap stuff, see how it goes," announced Thesis Sahib, accurately setting the tone for a loose, informal set at Up Here fest Friday afternoon (August 12).
His opener, a track that Sahib claimed was last tweaked at 2:00 a.m. the previous morning, featured numerous shootouts and samples alluding to Sudbury, and was the first personal touch in a show full of them. At one point, Sahib invited a random man from the audience onstage who proceeded to deliver a verbose and flummoxing verse admonishing the evils of late-stage capitalism and political corruption over the artist's screaming 16-bit production. Halfway through the set, the source of the Sudbury samples showed up and asked if his track had been played yet (unfortunately, it had).

As for Sahib's own performative aspects, he seemed to oscillate between a look of Talmudic concentration for his jittery instrumental tracks (triggered from what looked like a Game Boy) and wild energy when he stepped up to the mic. As a rapper, his flow is at once technically sound and vaguely cartoonish. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't.
You can't fault Sahib for trying. He seemed genuinely happy to be in Sudbury and connected on a number of tracks, most notably the batshit "Volcano Punch" (apparently about "punching nature in the dick, in a good way") and the funky jam "New Same Old." While it was good to see him engage with his audience, the veteran musician would certainly benefit from a dash of professionalism and giving his newer tracks a little more time to incubate.