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Outstanding local talent displayed during Zoo Music Awards Showcases (part 2)

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The second night of showcases for this year's Zoo Music Awards took place on Saturday night. I had planned to take in four venues of music, but the weather got the best of me, as well as the huge crowd at Top Hat Lounge, and so I was only able to visit two of the venues - Sean Kelly's for the Singer-Songwriters and Monk's for the Hip Hop/Spoken Word.

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First up was Sean Kelly's, where Whitefish native Luke Dowler started things off. His voice had a nice rich sound, but his guitar work was the most impressive. I loved his lyrics, especially on Six White Horses. He also did a great cover of Fleetwood Mac's Landslide. I was equally impressed with the lovely Jaycee, who came to the stage to sing some backing vocals for Luke. He is currently working on a new release for later this year.

Next on the stage was Missoula native Kappa Oie, who turned in one of the best performances I have seen in Missoula. Oie has a sweet voice that is incredibly powerful despite its softness. Her lyrics were thoughtful and she truly understands how to interact with her audience. Unfortunately, the bar was loud so it was hard to hear her. Nevertheless, I was spellbound and look forward to hearing her again in a more listener-friendly setting.

Braving the cold, we moved on to Monk's Bar. We got there in the middle of Hemingway's set, and I was blown away by this Bozeman band. They played hip hop like it was meant to be played - with a full band. Featuring the rap of William Hemingway, vocals by the amazing Michal Madeline, and the most incredible bassline by Alaska native Haley Ford, the band truly rocked the Hip Hop scene and had almost the entire club on the floor. The band laid down an awesome groove for Hemingway to spit his words, while Madeline's vocals rounded out the songs and kept them intense. I am not much of a hip hop fan, but listening to Hemingway could change that.

Last but not least, Missoula native Frodie, along with his brother DJ Eroque, gave it his best shot, but Hemingway was a tough act to follow. Nevertheless, Frodie left it all on the floor, as we brought his rhymes to life with the help of DJ Eroque. Frodie involved his audience and obviously made his label Wapikiya Records happy, not to mention the smiles on his family and friends.

I thoroughly enjoyed these two days of showcases, and look forward to the Zoo Music Awards Show at the Wilma on March 8. Hope to see you all there!

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