Brenda, Larry, a firefly eating a marshmallow, The Death of Auto-Tune, MJ, McNair, Michael Bay’s racism, mannequins, time travel and Talib Kweli… I’ve had a lot going on lately.
Good evening, people. The above seemingly random mentionings are the amalgam of experiences I had over the last few weeks, in no particular order.
Between apartment hunting and questioning my (non)existing relationships, I met Brenda and Larry. At Cafe Laguardia in the Wicker Park area of Chicago, my brother and I, along with some of his friends, watched a woman with that “why did I come here with this fool” look on her face as she watched her man act up with the live band at the Cuban restaurant. We took note amongst ourselves her attitude, that she was either ready to leave or ready for her mate to calm his behavior down to a notch below “tomfoolery.”
After some time, our conversation became more serious: music production, self-promotion, writing etc. All of a sudden, the aforementioned woman appeared from nowhere and began talking to us. It was hilarious. We learned a large part of her life story. The man acting a fool was her husband of 28 years. It was his 50th birthday, so he was on full celebration mode—extra crunk, easy on the mellow. I learned about their two daughters and their four grandchildren, but I learned more about Brenda’s outgoing tendencies, when ignored in public places by her husband, Larry. A lovely couple.
Then, time-travel through an unremembered amount of time to the future where I found myself at my family’s 4th of July barbecue with a whole bunch of family that I didn’t know. The children were setting off fireworks in a very self destructive, “if I set myself on fire that would be hilarious, wouldn’t it?”-type of attitude as they stood inches from each other, throwing tiny, lit explosives at each other’s feet. All I could do is try to correct their pitching form, like only a responsible adult should.
After several near-death experiences, I headed over to my friend’s place, where they were roasting marshmallows over their outdoor fire pit, and as I reached down to grab a ‘mallow out of the bag, I noticed a lightning bug perched atop one. I pulled that one out and just spent several minutes staring at it in wonder, wondering if the little bugger was actually eating the overly processed sweet puff—it is the little things that bring me joy and distraction.
Fast-foward past the other self-explanatory sad news mentioned in the opening paragraph (R.I.P. MJ and McNair; screw you Auto-Tune and creators of Mudflap and Skids) and on to the/my musical news of the week. At Shrine this past Monday, there was an event put on by a couple of organizations that included elements of fashion and live performance. I arrived at the event a bit before 10pm and spent much of my time debating past relationship decisions and watching several clubgoers breakdance wonderfully. It was some of the greatest stuff I’ve seen in person since I was in high school. I was instantly transported back to 1998 (wow, me and this time-travel thing… hmmph). After two hours or so of that, Rhymefest came out and did a pretty darn good performance with a live band backing him. He has a Michael Jackson tribute album coming out, and he performed a few tracks from that with high-octane energy.
Then DJ EQue (a rather pretty lady) came and spun a bit between a live mannequin fashion show. The women were rather delectable and varied in shape, which was very attractive. It wasn’t a bunch of skinny tentpoles with negative dress sizes wearing lingerie hanging loosely from their shoulder blades.
Then came Kweli, promptly at 1:06am… at a club that closed at 2am. He freestyled at first (typical of Kweli shows) and then performed a medley of tracks (starting with “Get Em High”), and then went on to other favorites like “Get By” and “Deliver Us”. After a few more tracks, assisted by previously mentioned female DJ, he grabbed his drink from off the table, threw the crowd a “peace” sign, and walked off stage… at 1:37am.
Now, I don’t have a problem with a brief performance. I understand that this wasn’t a concert, it was an event that you graced with your presence. However, if you’re going to be that brief, be early. If you’re going to be that late, be better. I once waited four hours for Ghostface to show up at the House of Blues and he finally popped on stage at midnight (doors opened at 8:30pm and we got there at 8pm and stood in line). But when he grabbed that mic, he didn’t put it down until 2:30am (he also brought some other Wu folks with him, including Cappadonna, who has an amazing stage presence).
That is what you do—if you gonna be that late, give a grand performance. I’ve seen Kweli in concert before, and a couple of other times, when he showed up at a Mos Def concert and a Common concert. Neither of those times had he showed such a lack of respect for the crowd. At least that’s the way it felt. This is not hating, cuz I love his music. I was just disappointed cuz I know I’ve seen him do better.