Mad Rad may have been the headlining act on Saturday for the second and final installment of the Go! Machine concerts at the Croc, but Macklemore straight up stole the show. Whatever is fueling the Capitol Hill-born lyricist's engine--the release of his and producer Ryan Lewis's new EP, his relatively new-found sobriety, a train car of Rockstars--is paying off big. He brought a level intensity palpable in every utterance. Dude meant what he said--no play-acting antics. Shit, even "Otherside," a song I don't like, came off well.
Rabid Child Images Mad Rad headlined Saturday's Go! Machine show at the Croc.
The other acts at the local hip-hop showcase handled business, too, no question. Sportin' Life's Fatal Lucciauno and ace hype-man Spaceman bombed the crowd with a one-two punch of fiery rhetoric (Fatal) and expert showmanship (Space). They make a nice team. Fatal moves and raps with the precision of a sniper's bullet, while Spaceman zips and zaps around like a crazy person--a marked contrast to his cool off-stage demeanor.Bruce Illest and Gatsby of They Live!--they're crazy, too. I've seen them perform several times of late, and at every show they bring the same addictive blast of Mach 5 speed. Guess they, like, exercise. One thing that struck me the other night about them, though, is that their sound--rooted in the fundamentals of hip-hop, weighted with its history--may not go over well with less sincere and knowledgeable audiences. It's packed with a strange simplicity that could go over the heads of some. Not a problem, I hasten to add, on Saturday.
I've never seen Mad Rad perform before its Go! Machine show. But if you live in this city and follow local hip-hop, you can't help but feel as if you have caught those rabble-rousers even if, like me, you haven't. In short: I was pleasantly unsurprised. As I expected, Mad Rad treats its audience with a kind of mocking disdain by doing things like showering them with water the way frat boys might splash a drunk girl with keg beer. It's all in good fun, but of course, and the kids--the kids, they eat it up.
Rebels without a cause, Mad Rad makes danceable fuck-you music to offend the parents of the world and puts on punked-out live shows to match it. And, frankly, they probably want everyone to get pissed at them. Attention: It does their bodies good. But how can you hate these dudes? They helped pull off one of the most exciting local hip-hop events I've seen here and, in the process, energized an already energized scene. Let's hope it continues--and that the rest of the country catches on soon. Tour time, guys.