Q Brothers | Live review
With the refrain, “The Q Brothas ah tak-in’ ova,” Kidzapalooza’s perennial sibling act took the midday stage for a set filled with hip-hop and humor.were onstage as a “break” from a nearby tent where, all weekend long, they’ve coached kids in rapping and made recordings of their rhymes.
The growing Sunday Kidza crowd got a funked-up, largely improvised set from the pair. Local teens The Happiness Club were the first to respond, quickly getting into the beatbox groove, but it wasn’t long before both older and younger demographics joined in the Qs’ spirit. (Especially charming moves were busted by a toddler rocking a pink, purple and red tutu, which visually amplified her enthusiastic dancing and tumbling on the grass.)
The bros’ first special guest, Mr. P, asked the crowd for ideas that they could incorporate into a freshly freestyled rap, and got three immediate responses: the candy man, bicycles and Scooby Doo. Within 60 seconds, the Q Brothers and Mr. P had a chorus: “I ride my bicycle to get some Scooby snacks from the candy man.” While the kids danced, adults in the crowd grinned, as they took in the rappers’ witty, on-the-fly lyrics and, best of all, JQ’s terrific Scooby voice.
To a call for more suggestions, a pair of deadmau5 fans, sitting farther back on the risers, called out the name of the big-eared, reigning king of dance music, who headlines Lolla tonight. Straining to hear, Mr. P asked back, “Time Out?” They shouted louder and JQ responded: “A dead mouse? Nah, that’d get kinda dark.”
More guests came onstage including a guy who’s actually another Qaiyum brother, TQ, not quite as practiced as his younger sibs although he acquitted himself with aplomb. He also gave the grownups a good chuckle, as he was on the verge of unfurling an s-word that rhymes with “pretty,” but caught himself in the nick of time. TQ kept the rhythm going, even if he lost the rhyme, by rapping, “I love the kids’ tent/It keeps me on my toes!”
Later, JQ pulled a fake-out along the same lines, setting up an obvious rhyme but zagging to the G-rated, non-rhyming joke. “I love these glasses/Everybody shake your butts!”
If you scanned the audience closely, you might’ve seen Anthony Qaiyum, the white-haired patriarch who owns Chicago’s Merz Apothecary and who begat the multitalented brothers. While the crowd capped the Q Brothers’ set with big smiles and plenty of applause, a clearly beaming Papa Q let loose with a loud whistle. His sons had given a number of shout-outs to the importance of family; the circle of love flowing to and from the stage was sweet, indeed.