I walked into last night's Mad Rad show with low expectations. I'd be lying if I said I had no expectations considering the latest round of press surrounding the hipster-hop trio makes it seem like trouble follows them everywhere they go. Still, I'm not easily deterred by what I read, and I was glad to walk into my first Mad Rad gig without bias ready to either love 'em or hate 'em.
Before I get into the Mad Rad show. I need to clear up something regarding the poster to the left. Much debate was thrown around regarding the images design--which if you look closely, is a woman lying on her back. The first time I saw it, it didn't initially stand out, but then I saw the pink nipples at the top, and got it. What's in question is the nature of the red, sphincter-like orifice, near the ass cheeks. I personally thought it was an asshole. Others think it's a vajayjay. But according to rapper Terry Radjaw who designed the flyer,
the image is definitely of a vajayjay. That's the type of dubious comedy you get when dealing with Mad Rad: They're masters at capturing folks' attention just by being themselves.
When DJ Darwin cued up their music and they jumped on stage looking like a bunch of Beastie Boy wannabes, I was thinking to myself, 'damn this better be worth it." They've got the essence of early Beastie Boys bravado circa 1985. It didn't feel like Mad Rad was imitating the Beasties, yet the comparison is inevitable. More importantly, what Mad Rad had working for them last night was the intellect to tap into the hipster market and give all the skinny-jeans kids what they want, which is a raucous party. So on a friggin Monday night, Nectar was packed with folks shouting Mad Rad lyrics at the top of their lungs. That's impressive alone cause it was a Monday in Fremont.
Not anybody can do hip-hop. It's hard work and those who pull it off well should be rewarded. But from what I could tell, folks appreciate that somebody is bringing new energy into the sub genre, and there's nothing wrong with that. I didn't see a whole lot of tight lyricism out of the crew. If they're serious about being good rappers, they've got some studying to do. But at the same time, you didn't get much of that out of acts like 2 Live Crew or Le Tigre either. Mad Rad makes party music with funny rhymes and I'm glad they do.
They've caught my ear and I'm probably going to check 'em out February 17 at the High Dive to see what they do next.