When: Mon., March 21, 9 p.m. 2016
If Juiceboxxx could bottle the energy and enthusiasm that’s powered him to pursue a lengthy unconventional career and overwhelming, freewheeling live performances, we’d have one hell of an alternative fuel source on our hands. Juice’s voracious appetite sent him digging through crates of LPs at 13 and DJing parties in his native Milwaukee as a teenager, and though he’s fluent in noise, house, pop-punk, and whatever bedroom producers are uploading to Soundcloud these days, he’s spent more than a decade singularly focused on making hip-hop. In that time his ecstatic vision has morphed from hyperactive, speaker-blowing party cuts into the focused rap-rock of Heartland 99, which dropped last year on his label Thunderzone (the imprint has also released music by scuzzy power poppers Dogs in Ecstasy and turgid rappers DJ Lucas and Gods Wisdom as well as apparel for cult MC Lil Ugly Mane and Juiceboxxx’s energy drink). Heartland 99 is built on Springsteen-inspired open-road guitars, meaty blocks of percussion, and Juice’s earnest, loudspeaker raps. He understands what it’s like to commit to a dream and nurture it, even with the knowledge that giving into “the darkness” when things look grim might seem like the easier path. Witnessing Juice is believing: I saw him for the umpteenth time this past summer at a basement space, and though only a couple dozen people were on hand he leaped around like he was entertaining a packed stadium.