Saturday, February 5, 2011

Das Racist @ Highline Ballroom, Feb 3, 2011

Das Racist, the "new Kool G Rap," were back home in NYC on Thursday night from a bunch of performances in California, to rock the house known as Highline Ballroom. The best part of this show was winning the tickets, which is always a good thing, and becoming my MO as of late.

This was the first time I'd ever been to Highline Ballroom, and it was about as nice as I thought it was, and possibly a bit nicer. There's a niceness you kind of expect when you go to a place in the Meatpacking District, but I've always heard of the Ballroom as a place to see live music, and their shows are usually inexpensive (these tickets were $15 each I believe) and relatively indie. Upon your entrance to the place, you head up some stairs to where the ticket booth is. Check in, get in and it's a very nice sized ballroom, with a very nice sized stage. There's tables around the standing area, for eating dinner, which some people were actually doing when we arrived, albeit relatively early to when the main attraction was to take the stage. There's a bar here (with decently priced drinks for the area) and another one upstairs, with even more tables for you to sit down and have a drink or two. There's a $10 minimum to get a table, so that's about a beer each, which actually is a really good deal considering you get to have your own table when the place fills up. Lots of great lighting and the sound was nice, so it's time for the show.

The first opening act was the multi-talented DJ Jasmine Solano, who went through quite the catalog of tracks and spinning. It was quite impressive, because she started off her set with techno (as you would guess), then went into hip-hop. From there she played some reggae (Dancehall) and even went from that to playing some Dubstep! She was really showing off the versatility. How did things get better? She grabbed the microphone and said, "You know New York City, I don't just only DJ." She walked around from her booth on the stage and started rapping! Nice! She has a great stage presence and her mixing technique and style are awesome. Definitely a DJ I would like to hear do her own party.

DJ Tekla (another femme fatale on the ones and twos) took over so the next act could come on. Detroit's own Danny Brown was next up, who had a very "I'm not from NYC" look about him, as most people do, who aren't from here. His flow is a cool one, laid back, Snoop Dogg-esque, with lyrics to boot. He raps about getting high and hooking up with women, which I suppose in today's rap game is a good recipe for success. He had a good stage presence, very much like his rhyming style, cool and laid back, but delivers the lyrics clear and precise. He was good, but to me, nothing really to write home about.

Next on the list were the men of the hour, the main event, Das Racist, as always flanked by their hypeman Dapwell. These guys are listed as "alternative hip-hop," I guess because they're an alternative to listening to today's horrible excuses for rappers. Das Racist are lyricists, despite their absolute best efforts, and I say that with the utmost respect! They rap about partying, getting drunk, and just anything that will rhyme with those things. Their performances also reflect their style of music, a drunken, wild whirling dirvish of lyrics and cool beats. They came out with Dapwell, and Victor walked out with a large vodka bottle in his hand, that he was obviously on the way to finishing. They're very high energy, and they had to be, because they managed to perform what seemed like a veteran set, a laundry list of their hits to the capacity crowd. Everything from "You oughta Know" to "Combination Pizza Hut & Taco Bell" to "Speaking in Tongues" got the crowd rocking and going crazy. They had a whole slew of special guests too, from El-P to Danny Brown's return to the stage was very well received. Victor at one point even took some time out from drinking to hand me a sip of his drink that I thought was water, it definitely wasn't! They left "so they could take a break and have the fans cheer real loud so we'll come back out." Just that line, making fun of the idea of a curtain call, best explains their take on the music game, serious, but not. Why can't musicians have fun with music anymore? I don't know, and neither does Das Racist. They rocked it thoroughly and I'm glad I got a chance to see them finally. I was actually at their album release party at the Santos Party House a few months ago, but managed to leave before they came out. I really couldn't stand the band that was on stage at the time so we ended up leaving and going somewhere else. I know, really disappointing. I was, Thursday night, granted another chance to see these up and coming party rappers, and I definitely showed up this time around. These guys seem to be on the road to stardom, so I would say you should see them soon before their ticket prices go up. Das Racist: Everything i touch is a spaceship!

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