“Look for the obnoxious dude in the tank top,” he says by way of introduction.
Cash Colligan’s being self-effacing, or maybe just firing a warning shot.
“I still think I’m annoying. Especially when I do music,” grins the rocker turned hip-popper (more on that designation later), who sits on the edge of a beige, crescent-shaped couch in an upstairs bar area of the House of Blues.
Sitting doesn’t really seem to be Colligan’s thing, though: he’s full of energy, poised to be released.
Think of a coiled spring with a brick on top of it.
He’s the spring.
And right about now, I’m the brick.
My questions can wait.
Colligan’s got some soundchecking to do.
It’s a Wednesday night, and he’s debuting his new “Hip-Pop” live music series, which he’s looking to make a regular event at venues across town.
Colligan’s the show host as well as a featured performer.
Soon, he’s pacing back and forth across a small patch of wooden parquet flooring.
The DJ drops the beat, and Colligan’s off: his words come fast, rolling from his tongue the way marbles move across a smooth surface.
Colligan’s voice is sharp, bordering on pinched. But he has an ear for melody — the guy used to sing and play bass in a pop punk band, after all.
And not just any pop band: Colligan was a founding member of The Cab, the emotive, radio-ready rock band who landed a deal with Fall Out Boy bassist Pete Wentz’s label, Decaydance Records, before its members had even graduated from high school and toured with Panic! At The Disco.
The Cab seemed on the verge of being Vegas’ next breakout act when it released its full-length debut in 2008.
A year later, though, Colligan left The Cab — and not on the best of terms. He joined another band, Play For Keeps, for a time, but lost his enthusiasm for it all.
So a few years back, Colligan turned to another passion, hip-hop, which he’d played around with in the past, writing funny rap songs to kill time while on tour.
He’s definitely not trying to be the next Eminem.
“It’s not rap music,” he says. “That’s why I call it ‘hip-pop.’ I didn’t grow up on the street. A lot of things affiliated with hip-hop don’t pertain to my life. I’m not trying to disrespect anyone who takes themselves seriously as a hip-hop artist.”
Colligan’s off to a promising start. More than 150 people show up to the House of Blues show, filling the impromptu performance area.
He recently put out a new single, also called “Hip-Pop,” which follows “Ashes,” released in the spring, on which Colligan makes clear his feelings for The Cab. He burns the band’s CDs in the video for “Ashes,” which racked up 10,000 views on YouTube.
Before long, Colligan is up off the couch again, working through another song.
Soon, the party will start.
But in a way, it began some time ago, back when Colligan entered the room.