The Physics Wish You Were Here Album Release Party (w/Brothers From Another, Otieno Terry, Malice & Mario Sweet, & DJ Beeba | Neumos | May 29, 2015
You would be hard pressed to find a city that celebrates the arrival of summer and the sun it brings more than our beloved Seattle. Things feel brand new and all of a sudden 206-based Instagram accounts become a gleeful conglomerate of perfectly-staged backdrops. So the timing felt perfect for the Physics to host their Wish You Were Here album release party last Friday night at Neumos in the midst of what could arguably have been deemed the first legitimate weekend of summer in a town that loves good weather more than its rappers love metaphors.
I often overuse the term “wavy” when I want to describe something that is pleasing to me, but that’s exactly what the background stage graphics were Friday at Neumos: a picture of a sunset that set the tone for the melodic, laid-back grooves the crowd spent its night swaying too. Thig Nat – the unofficial front man of the Physics — is a multifaceted artist. If you haven’t had the pleasure of viewing some of his photography, you should — it gives you a greater appreciation of everything else he does including making music with his two main partners in the Physics, Monk Wordsmith and Justo.
The trio had a live backing band at Neumos on Friday and as they worked their way through an amazing set of music, I could see myself riding, barbecuing and simply zoning out to all of it. It was wonderful to witness a hip-hop show full of such refined artists. The Physics stand out for a number of reasons, perhaps the main one being they are actually more of a band that just happens to rap, much like the Roots. Both acts transcend the simple “rap group” title.
A few songs into their performance, Thig broke down the philosophy and vibe the Physics were going for with the show and the new album. Each song on Wish You Were Here deals with the absence of a particular individual. The title track is especially personal, as Thig raps to a younger version of himself. What does it mean to be a guest and listener to someone else’s nostalgia trip? For me, it meant a heartfelt reflection on all the magic and possibility of summer. Thematic albums tend to be the most powerful and I loved the heavy R&B influence and cookout vibes of WYWH because it was reminiscent of what my own expectations for rap music used to be: raw feelings and soul. I often forget that.
The Physics delivered an excellent opportunity to think about the good feelings nice weather can impart. The possibility of music and its unyielding ability to take you anywhere you want to go was realized at Neumos.