Illphonics is a six-piece hip-hop fusion group who has spent the last decade becoming an
integral part of the Saint Louis music scene. You may have seen them playing for large crowds at Lou Fest, but their show at Gaslight Studio showed a new side of their performance. We had the pleasure of sitting down and enjoying an intimate session from the viewing lounge, along with many others who were excited for the free show on a Sunday night. The SoFarSTLxTeamBackPack Recording Session and Happy Hour was a late night hangout featuring both Illphonics and local sensation Arshad Goods.
Gaslight Studio is a completely unique musical experience because it’s designed to give listeners a personal look at the behind-the-scenes recording process. The floor to ceiling, sound proof, glass window gives those seated in the beer garden community style seating a
perfect view into the recording studio where the musicians work their magic. The lounge area is complete with dim mood lighting, high ceilings, long community tables, chalkboard menus against brick wall, and bar seating– giving this venue an ultra-fresh and hip vibe. The full menu of specialized craft cocktails, created by Matt Stelzer of St. Louis’ Amsterdam Tavern, lands this show a 4 on the substance report. While you could easily be sober at this show, why not enjoy a one-of-a-kind cocktail while you’re at it.
One of the best aspects of Gaslight Studio is that it gives the musicians the experience of simultaneously playing off the energy of fans while also using state-of-the-art recording technology. The venue was wall-to-wall packed with fans that were excited to see the group in such a refreshing setting. There was little to no evidence of “older” dads in attendance, with a median age of ~25 years old we rate the dad factor at this show a 1. The intimate setting and dim lighting had the crowd turning to their neighbors for a friendly chat, but once Illphonics started playing they captivated the audience with their truly unique artistry.
While normally such a rhythmic and soulful group would get you off your feet, this venue allowed the audience to sit and soak in each bit of their four-song set. Their set included songs off of their 2016 album Gone With The Trends; KillaMusicknotes, Whatdyalike, 96to99, and Brown Frequency. Their music expertly blends rap vocals atop solid guitar and drum compositions rooted in funk and rock traditions and witty lyrics range from nostalgic verses about old school rap to emotional verses of social commentary on the Black Lives Matter movement. The vibes of the venue and the crowd leveled out to a 3 on the flannel factor, not ostentatiously indie…but just right. It’s hard to pin down what gives them that unique Illphonics flavor, but you can accredit part of it to the fact that each member has their own distinct personal tastes that come together into a single beautiful symphony of sound.
You can find Illphonics in action in their October video release for 96to99. The video, directed by Brock Russel, was filmed amongst the North Riverfront in Downtown Saint Louis— showing some of the scenery that inspires so many local musicians and artists. The premise involving emcee Fallout Morris’ personal experiences with hip-hop takes you on a visual storytelling journey that displays the raw passion and soul that goes into what Illphonics is all about. In every ounce of what they do, Illphonics is giving you their all. Overall, Illphonics is more than just a hip-hop act, they are storytellers of the human experience.
Who are the Illphonics?
Genre: Hip Hop Fusion
Hometown: Saint Louis, MO
Similar Artists: The Flobots, Lupe Fiasco, Q-Tip, Lauryn Hill
Plans for 2017: Hitting the road and playing as many out of town events as possible.
For booking please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can find their most recent album release here:
All photography featured is © Photography by J Rose 2017