Mel D. Cole


hyro the hero puts on a masterclass in opening sets

August 27, 2019
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Opening up a music festival is always an uphill battle. Your set feels like it’s ten hours before the headlining act, a large portion of the audience will still be asleep in their beds while you play, and your allotted time on stage is slightly longer than how long it takes to get to the front of the beer line. As an act, you can easily phone it in and nobody will hold you accountable (because there usually isn’t enough of an audience to actually care).

Hyro The Hero and his three-piece band had their work cut out for them. Hyro raps over a brand of rap-rock similar to Rage Against the Machine; you get your heavy socio-political themes with guitars that veer from hard rock fretwork to hip-hop influenced sounds. The comparison is not lost on him; he even threw in a quick cover of Rage’s “Killing In The Name” for good measure during his set. It was a smart move; because not running from his influences is a strength playing to a crowd that might be unfamiliar with your work. There was a familiarity through the set that drew people in; while many they didn’t recognize the songs they certainly recognized the vibe; it’s why they were at AFROPUNK in the first place. The sparse crowd at the beginning of the set grew into a full-on mosh pit. Hyro and his equally energetic band spent as much time in the air as they did on the ground. Mics were thrown and caught, Hyro slam-danced into the crowd, and fists were enthusiastically raised in the air. As he finished his last song the crowd was so turned up that AFROPUNK’s own Matthew Morgan asked him to sneak in one more song.

In the middle of the set, Hyro sat down on the drum riser. In the crowd, attendees stretched their arms using the pause as a chance to prepare for the next clash in the pit. “No pain, no gain. Make real change” he told the crowd as he paused to catch his breath. They roared back and when the guitars kicked in they ran back into the fray with smiles on their faces.


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Some @afropunk Insanity!!! #GTFU Thank you #NY #LosAngeles here I come 🎥 @4stringsamurai

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