Notepad Brad headlines first solo gig at Rhino’s

Notepad Brad headlines first solo gig at Rhino’s

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Brad McMahan looks like any other hip-hop fan in his backward baseball cap, red t-shirt and navy blue cargo shorts.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (Aug. 8, 2015) Rhino's All Ages Music Club features frequent hip-hop showcases to highlight the musical talents of local kids. Performers at the Aug. 8, 2015, showcase included the inaugural solo set by Brad McMahan, also known as Notepad Brad, who has gained popularity with the Bloomington-based group Indigo Kidz. Joining him were December's Finest and Paradox, both area hip-hop acts. Rhino's encourages creative expression during its after-school and weekend activities.
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (Aug. 8, 2015) Rhino’s All Ages Music Club features frequent hip-hop showcases to highlight the musical talents of local kids. Performers on Aug. 8, 2015, included Brad McMahan, also known as Notepad Brad, December’s Finest and Paradox. (Photo by Linda Margison)

At a hip-hop showcase Aug. 8, 2015, at Rhino’s All Ages Music Club, he stands for a while with his friends, and then he kicks back on a pale worn couch and chats with a young fan. He smiles and he jokes. He stands and bounces from foot to foot.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (Aug. 8, 2015) Brad McMahan, also known as Notepad Brad, talks with a fan, DaNita Morrow, before his Saturday night, Aug. 8, 2015, performance at Rhino's All Ages Music Club. McMahan has gained popularity with the Bloomington-based group Indigo Kidz, but this hip-hop showcase marked his first solo performance. Rhino's features frequent hip-hop showcases to highlight the musical talents of local kids. Joining him were December's Finest and Paradox. Rhino's encourages creative expression during its after-school and weekend activities.
Brad McMahan, also known as Notepad Brad, talks with a fan, DaNita Morrow, before his Saturday night, Aug. 8, 2015, performance at Rhino’s All Ages Music Club. (Photo by Linda Margison)

To the casual witness, he is just another fan excited to see the show.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (Aug. 8, 2015) Brad McMahan, who performs as Notepad Brad, tries to relax before taking the stage in his first solo hip-hop performance at Rhino's All Ages Music Club on Aug. 8, 2015. McMahan is no stranger to the stage, having gained popularity with the Bloomington-based group Indigo Kidz, but the show was his first without hype suport from his bandmates. Other area acts performing were Paradox and December's Finest.
Brad McMahan, who performs as Notepad Brad, tries to relax before taking the stage in his first solo hip-hop performance at Rhino’s All Ages Music Club on Aug. 8, 2015. (Photo by Linda Margison)

However, McMahan, also known as Notepad Brad, is the headliner. He gained local popularity with the Bloomington-based group Indigo Kidz, but tonight is his inaugural solo set.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (Aug. 8, 2015) Brad McMahan, also known as Notepad Brad, watches as Paradox takes the stage during a hip-hop showcase Aug. 8, 2015, at Rhino's All Ages Music Club. McMahan has gained popularity with the Bloomington-based group Indigo Kidz, but Saturday's performance was his first solo set. McMahan headlined the event that included Paradox and December's Finest. Rhino's hosts frequent showcases to give local teens a safe place to enjoy local music.
Brad McMahan watches as Paradox takes the stage during a hip-hop showcase Aug. 8, 2015, at Rhino’s All Ages Music Club. (Photo by Linda Margison)

At 8 p.m., the lights dim and the first act, Paradox, takes the stage. McMahan stands near the front, dances and encourages the young act. After a short intermission, the next group, December’s Finest, belts out a couple of songs, and then invites McMahan to join in the fun. He leaps to the stage, grabs a mic and settles in the groove, dancing and rapping with the duo.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (Aug. 8, 2015) After watching his fellow musicians perform, Brad McMahan, also known as Notepad Brad, raps on the dance floor so he can interact with the audience at Rhino's All Ages Music Club. McMahan gained popularity locally with the Bloomington-based group Indigo Kidz, but the Aug. 8, 2015, show was his inaugural solo set. Joining him were December's Finest and Paradox. Rhino's encourages creative expression during its after-school and weekend activities. (Photo by Linda Margison)
After watching his fellow musicians perform, Brad McMahan raps on the dance floor so he can interact with the audience at Rhino’s All Ages Music Club on Saturday, Aug. 8, 2015. (Photo by Linda Margison)

When it’s his turn, McMahan chooses not to stay on stage, but instead to take over the dance floor and interact with his fans.

“It’s different without the hype,” he says after the show, referring to the vocal support of his fellow Indigo Kidz. He appears exhausted, but also pleased with his performance.

As the entertainment space is emptied and staff shuts down the showplace, McMahan makes sure he greets each of the dozen or so attendees. He asks names. He jokes. It’s obvious that he’s tired.

“Thank you for coming out,” he says.

As he’s leaving, he runs back to thank the Rhino’s staff and hug another performer’s mom.

“Thanks,” he says, and then he’s off and out the back door.

Rhino’s offers frequent hip-hop showcases to highlight the musical talents of local kids and young adults. The space encourages creative expression during its after-school and weekend activities.

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