Mad Rad 

Here's a poorly kept secret: live hip-hop shows are pretty terrible. Over-bassed sound. Hands predictably extolled to wave like they just don't care. More hyperbolic posturing than audience-engaging performance. That goes for up-and-comers and veterans, especially the veterans. I'm looking at you, 50 Cent.

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Judging from Mad Rad's collection of live YouTube videos, the Seattle foursome looks to buck that trend with vigorous vocal performances of party-in-the-U.S.A., radio-ready jamz. Watching the videos, it's easy to see that these cats work the crowd hard, assiduously passing the mic and punctuating whip-snap raps with live drums. The only time I've seen more mugging for the camera is in ancient Bill Cosby Pudding Pop™ spots. P Smoov's production is in clear contrast to the kinetic rhymes, featuring a mellow, modern electronica and chilled out beats. Oh, and a spot of cello, because I swear, in 2011 even grindcore bands gotsta have cello.

This synthesis of sound has a lot in common with good music, just not quite. The brosephs from Mad Rad seem poised to move on and be something other than a milquetoast party crew.

Mad Rad plays the Palace Thursday, May 18, at 9 PM. $5.

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