Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Best Reason for You to Hate Me, Maybe

Camera, camera, camera. Why do I always leave you home when I’m going to need you most? If I can think to bring my camera to my brother’s Eagle Scout Court of Honor, why can’t I remember to bring it along when I head off to indie-hipster-hip hop shows? It’s like I’m trying to make people hate my blog.

Anyway, tonight (or maybe I should say “last night”) I caught some of the Definitive Jux Records show at Mercury Lounge. As it was a Tuesday night and I feel I’ve got plenty going on right now, I mostly headed out because the one performer on the bill with whom I was the most familiar, Rob Sonic, was performing first. I figured I’d check out Rob, then stick around as long as I felt like it afterwards, and call it a night. So that’s what I did. I almost feel I could stop this post right here, but I’ll carry on a bit longer.

The crowd was slow to arrive for the show, even if everything got started an hour later than had been advertised. When I got there, about ten minutes after the supposed official start time, two dj’s were spinning records for a nearly empty room habitated by a smattering a wall-huggers, and the crowd wasn’t all that thick when Rob Sonic took the stage. At various previous times here at Steady Mobbin’ I’ve praised Mr. Sonic’s work, and it was fun to see him live, but as rappers just rap over records of their tracks from their records, the benefit of a live show isn’t always so big, unless the energy of the place is off the hook . . . and in this case it wasn’t really. So, mostly catching Rob was an exercise in making sure he could remember all his lyrics (and he could) and checking out what sort of between-song banter he had going on (pretty good.) While this appraisal of Rob’s work doesn’t sound so incredibly positive, let the record show that I did dig his performance.

Rob was to be followed by an MC known as Beans. I had heard of Beans, and since I had a little name recognition going on (but no music in my head that I could attach that name to), I stuck around for his set. And this Beans, he is why I wish I had my camera with me . . . because I’m pretty sure that Beans is the world’s greatest OCD rapper. Howso? Let me explain: For starters, he dressed quite sharply, in the hipster way, with a colorful scarf hanging in a loose knot around his neck. He stopped between songs several times to step back and adjust the knot of his scarf so that it was just how it needed to be . . . at first I was pretty sure this was the affectation of a showman shooting to entertain his audience with his every nuance, but as Beans continued to take the time to fix his scarf, I began to feel he was doing it for himself. Also, there was his dancing. Were I not a kinder fellow, I’d suggest that Beans’ dancing suggested a more profound mental affliction than “simple” obsessive-compulsive behavior. Beans had a different wiggly worm dance move for each of his songs, ranging from an off-kilter gyroscopic swiveling of the knees to one song, a hopping twist dance around his microphone stand during another, and swinging his arm above himself as he hunched over, quite close to the stage (he may or may not have called this move “doing the ice pick”, it’s in debate right now.) And then there was the meticulous arranging of the water bottles on the stage, water which he didn’t really drink, but liked to have lined up in a certain way. All in all, very interesting fellow to watch, also, not a bad rapper at all.

By the time Beans was done, the place had gotten plenty crowded and numerous acts were to follow him. But I felt my need for Tuesday night entertainment was taken care of and slipped out of the club with Mike the Model and Lisa from High School as one of the dj’s was announcing that Aesop Rock was “in the house.” (Though I don’t know if his announcement was meant to simply indicated that Aesop Rock was at the show or that he’d be performing later on that night.) The three of us headed over to a 31 Flavors where I ordered a rocky road milkshake, the preparation of which seemed to be the greatest mental and physical challenge the girl behind the counter had ever faced. She kept looking up at the Baskin Robins “menu” for clues as to what this mysterious milkshake might entail, considered the workings of their blenders quite carefully (and eventually got it to work using a guess and check system of trial and error) and after my 16 oz. treat was finished, I’m pretty sure she headed to the back of the store to take a breather and to talk to someone about getting milkshakes taken off of the menu.

That wasn’t supposed to sound mean. Thank you rappers for rapping, and teenage slaves to corporate ice cream giants for preparing my delicious chocolate ice cream and marshmallow beverage.

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