Published Aug 01, 2004The wave of anticipation surrounding Little Brother these days is growing exponentially. With word of mouth about their fine debut The Listening continuing to spread, well over a year after its release, and DJ/producer 9th Wonder's cred going through the roof, things are looking decidedly up for the North Carolina trio. This night, they stalked the stage with uncommon energy and showmanship. Lead MC Phonte took charge, feeding off the crowd by sticking out his tongue Gene Simmons style. Unfortunately, the sound system didn't play up to the level of the performance, rendering 9th Wonder's lush soundscapes, aside from his distinctively squelchy snares, difficult to hear. Still, when it came to reacting to Phonte and Pooh's impromptu rhyming over Jay-Z's "The Threat" and Murs's "Bad Man," both produced by 9th Wonder, the crowd erupted. However, when the beats were changed up for songs from the album , it proved hard with the lacking system to follow along and actually took some steam out of the originals as a result. But the charisma and energy of the group saved the show. The humorous performance as generic hip-hop thugs and Pooh and Phonte's swinging dance moves for the old-school paean "So Fabolous" were priceless. And when Phonte alluded to the sample on "Light It Up" by crooning his self-consciously cheesy version of Al Green's "Let's Stay Together" to cigarette-lighter approval, the deal was sealed.