It’s not very often that some of the most talented performers in Boston are set to grace the same stage in a single night. This Sunday marks the 1 year anniversary of Mind Spray, a local hip-hop open mic and showcase series devised by promotion and booking company The Brain Trust.
Owner Conor Loughman diligently explains how the concept for Mind Spray was formed. “The Brain Trust has been booking shows since 2010, and Mind Spray is our reaction to doing hip-hop in Boston for so many years. It aims to answer the question: how do you unite a community and artists in a situation where they are more inclined to work together?”
He grows palpably restless when describing the vision he had in mind. “You hear about all of these crews and collectives of people, like Top Dawg Entertainment, Pro-Era, A$AP Mob. In Boston, this exists, but it’s just smaller and more insular. There’s just so much talent in and around the area. Mind Spray is a positive way of networking and making people a lot more aware of each other.”
The way Mind Spray is set up makes those occurrences both natural and inevitable, a feat that Loughman says fosters an open environment. “Anyone can sign up to perform at the open mic—beatboxers, rappers, poets. As long as you don’t do a Bob Dylan cover, the whole crowd tends to be respectful and polite.” His brief chuckle gives way to more vital details. “Three judges from the room are chosen, and they decide who their top 3 performers are. Ultimately, the crowd determines the winner.” For those who are intrigued by the format but apprehensive about displaying their talent, definitely know that the risk is worth the reward.
“Winners receive 2 hours of free studio time courtesy of The Bridge Sound and Stage, $100 cash prize, video of their performance shot by Downlow Productions, and a headlining slot at next month’s event. We definitely stack things in favor of the artists. Without partners like PBR, The Bridge, and Downlow, none of this would even be possible.”
The most engaging facet of our conversation is Loughman’s fervor surrounding the event—and what the anniversary show symbolizes. “I haven’t been this excited about a show in a really long time. Over the years, The Brain Trust has done so many different things. We’ve refined our approach to customize events and to do it the most effectively.” In the end, Loughman has one main objective for his company. “We just want to spread the word about music we love—that will always be the goal.”
Mind Spray First Anniversary features STL GLD, Latrell James, Real P, Casso, GVS Beatbox, Ambro, Riggz Two Nice, Wendall Scott, Tim Nihan, Original Big J, Mike Wing, and Mr. Fritz (Brighton Music Hall, April 19, 7 p.m., $18.50). Tickets available here.
[Photos courtesy of Mind Spray Facebook]