Thursday, February 17, 2005

the most beautiful boogie man

Okay, I missed Naveen again last night, but this time, at least it wasn't because I was gnashing my teeth on a powerpoint presentation. Dudes, Mos Def, with Blackalicious opening... need I say more? Too bad, you know I will. That was a nice antidote to the additional bad news waiting for me when I got home last night. A called me last night before the show and was telling me about some show reenacting chinese water torture; I told him I think this periodic disappointment that keeps getting delivered my way is a pretty good model for that.

Sure, I'm only half awake right now, and allergies are still having their way with me. V and I took public transportation to Berkeley, and the place was mobbed with little scenesters. But believe me, none of that mattered once we got to the venue. I can't write intelligently about this, so I will just note the following:
  • Blackalicious seemed amused by the Berkeley crowd. They got the young ones to sing the alphabet. The alphabet. I am reminded of a Steve Harvey moment, about his disdain for rappers that force the audience to call back- he's like "How come, after you've spent money for a ticket, these rappers are always asking you to jump around and clap and do all the work?" I kind of agree, especially if they're trying to make you sing the alphabet. I like to think Blackalicious were just being subversive about it, so that I don't begrudge them this odd call & response.
  • Mos Def... sigh. He came out with about fifteen layers of clothes. It was fun for me, since I was practicing my spanish. "Mos Def lleva una chaqueta negra, y una sudadera, y una camiseta de manga corta, y una camiseta sin manga..." I joked to V that Mos Def seemed to be staging a strip show. At one point during the show, he was taking a t-shirt off while rapping, got it only halfway off, and proceeded to continue to rap while walking around with the shirt on as if it was a straightjacket. Did I love him more for that? Yes.
  • Mos Def seemed genuinely shocked by the number of people that showed up on a weeknight to see him. That was odd to me, because he's rather revered in these parts, and he seems to be getting a lot of public attention lately with all his film work. He pulled a real crowd pleaser when he started walking down the main aisle shaking hands. Those small gestures go a long way in my book. Just acknowledging that outpouring of joy, accepting it, instead of being aloof or acting entitled. I don't know... again, lack of sleep + allergies = incohorence.
  • Best musical moments? A tie between Mos singing a stanza of A Very Good Year (a Sinatra tune) and Mos sending up Snoop with a complete reinterpretation of Drop it like it's hot. Says he to Snoop: "maybe that ice is making your ear numb." Ah... I love me some good-natured ribbing.
  • Close Edge from Mos Def's new album is awesome. If you watch the Chappelle Show, you might have caught Dave driving Mos around NYC while Mos put this one down.
  • About a million pictures were taken at this show- a sea of cell phones struggling to document the moment. Did I? Come on... you've seen my phone.
Well, the bad news keeps coming my way, but at least there are things that buffer it, like this show. Yes, it's like putting up a wall of sand when the ocean is coming your way, sure to overwhelm you, but you have to put up something. It's human nature to keep trying, I suppose, however futile the attempt.

Besides, how disappointed should one be when there is the possibility of meeting a couple of mutinous bloggers, in NYC no less, in but a few weeks?

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