I didn't know much about local DJ and rapper King Illah before attending his "Illahpalooza" event on Saturday-at most, I'd seen his album Pimpin' On My Grind in the racks at Sound Garden, and caught a less than impressive DJ set at the Black Hole Rock Club. Nonetheless, he was able to pull off an all-day event at the Fish Head Cantina in Arbutus with more than a dozen artists. And, beyond that, he was undoubtedly the star of the show.
Highlights during the evening included the group Planet SB, which always toed the line between fun and obnoxious. Rapper Oowop City had a certain nerdy appeal, peppering his set with dialogue samples from Clerks and The Big Lebowski, which was somewhat undermined by the blandness of songs, featuring topics that ranged from "I'm a rock star" to "I'm on my grind." But throughout the night, Illah manned the turntables, managing to be more charismatic as a DJ than many of the rappers. If he threw on an old Eazy-E joint and the crowd didn't know the words to his satisfaction, he'd stop the record in a display of mock disgust and move onto something else. While hilariously attempting to auction off any phone misplaced in the venue or start an impromptu thong contest, he'd invariably shrug "it's my 'palooza." And when he finally came out from behind the tables to perform, Illah's brief, breezy set was the most fun anyone appeared to have onstage all night.