Wed, Nov. 9th
Yesterday, a few hours before the Das Racist show at Neumos, a friend on Facebook>"/>
Wed, Nov. 9th
Yesterday, a few hours before the Das Racist show at Neumos, a friend on Facebook asked, "What're the chances of them sucking?" It's a fair question, as Das Racist have had a notoriously dicey record for their shows in Seattle to date--part of their joking/not-joking appeal has been shows that go down like dumb wasted parties, with sharp clever raps on the side. Last night, they were due for a good one last night after a somewhat deflated Bumbershoot appearance, plus they were playing a good sized club with a solid sound system on a bill that was entirely loaded with their friends and collaborators. More than that even, like I said in the Short List preview for the show, Relax marks a distinctly more focused (and potentially commercial) phase two of their world domination strategy, and last night they brought a professional-grade concert to match.
Which isn't to say that it wasn't still a party. Everyone was focused and nailing their rhymes, but everyone was still having a good time, especially on the cuts where the entire posse of Lakutis, Danny Brown, Despot, and Kassa Overall joined them. Dap clowned and danced around, Heems did that slow-mo air-guitar on the microphone like a nervous tic, Kool AD wrastled with Lakutis during a guest verse, and Lakutis, with his hesher-length hair and stoner grin, crowd surfed. At one point, Heems and Kool AD ducked off the stage to rap from behind the merch booth. And moves that read as lazy or disengaged on a big stage at Bumbershoot--like Kool AD leaning back and taking a seat against the DJ riser--felt perfectly comfortable in a venue where they could project all the way to the back of the room without having to sweat.
About those posse cuts--Das Racist made the most of their mates on this package tour, doing a set list heavy on guest verses: the breezy yet barreling Sit Down, Man highlights "Rapping 2 U" and "Amazing" both featuring Lakutis, the car-alarm hard drop of "Rooftop" with Despot (who turns out to be much more of a short red-headed dude than he sounds like), "Town Business" with Kassa Overall, Relax growler "Power" with Danny Brown and Despot, as well as a run through everyone's verses on Mr. Muthafuckin eXquire's "The Last Hurrah" in the encore. (Lakutis also got in a track of his own at one point.) Best of all, and as so rarely happens at rap shows, all those voices onstage had the desired effect of sounding exuberant rather than cluttered.
They played both Relax's title track as well as "Shut Up, Man" over Dr. Dre's "Xxplosive" (shamefully, a friend had to tell me what beat it was), which had the effect of chilling both songs out considerably. They bantered about Oakland being "the Town" too, about the difference between deodorant and anti-perspirant (the former, presumably Tom's, is fine, the latter is bad for you), about Rick Ross ("does he even exist?"), and they shouted out Macklemore and Blue Scholars as Seattle family. They told the crowd, "if you're gonna make a blog entry about this show make some noise!"
It's rare that I leave a show wishing an artist had played more new stuff and fewer old favorites, but if I had one complaint last night it was that DR skipped two of the best songs off Relax: "Middle of the Cake" and "Girl," which form a sweet one-two punch on the album, a goofy lifted sex jam that transitions into one of the year's most awesome and unexpected love songs, like Das Racist's own "Teenage Dream" (if Heems hadn't actually already done a version of that). But, shit, they did a 16 song set, I guess you gotta leave something out.
"Who's That Brown?"
"Brand New Dance"
"Rapping 2 U"
"Lakutis in the House" (?)
"Shut Up, Man"
"You Oughta Know"
"Rainbow in the Dark"
"The Last Hurrah"