I never had the chance to talk on all the shows I saw throughout this year so far, so I wanted to make a few comments on those shows before we roll into summer concerts/festivals. Each concert had its own vibe and unique experience, but no doubt some were better than the others. I’ll go through them by month, and try to keep it brief.
No concerts attended. Meh.
Dropkick Murphys at the Orpheum Theater in Madison w/Lucero and Skinny Lister: I had seen Dropkick three times leading up to this concert, and since every other excursion was a blast, I figured I might as well continue to support the Irish-punk band. They have enough popular songs and I own one of their more recent albums, so they should play enough to keep me entertained. Or so I thought. The problem with this logic was that this was a show on their own tour, while every other show I’ve been to they were at festival, a place where artists have to entertain a larger audience, tailoring their setlist to non-fanatics like, well, me. Now as I mentioned before, I knew a bit more than “I’m Shipping Up to Boston” but Dropkick decided to play their debut album FROM 19-F*CKING-98 IN FULL. No one outside of Quincy, Mass had ever even HEARD of this band for the eight years in between that album’s release and the premier of The Departed, and yet I’d say at least 80% of that venue knew every song they played, and I was both impressed and disappointed. Impressed with them, disappointed in myself. Not knowing the words to most of the songs at the concert you’re going to has the greatest potential for awkwardness, and just chilling in the front row with no idea what was going on pretty much fit that bill. I also missed my opportunity to get up on stage, but that’s another whiny story.
On the positive side (yes, there were positives), Dropkick played a double set, so some classics were actually played. I also got to hear some new acts in Southern rockers Lucero and English folkers Skinny Lister. I’ll talk more on Skinny Lister in my next post, but Lucero got booed by Dropkick fans and that wasn’t cool.
Lil Dicky at the Majestic Theater in Madison: I believe local rapper Michael Medall was the opener, but my friends and I arrived late as we were only interested in the beloved headliner. And boy was I pumped. This was the rapper’s fourth show ever, and as a donor to his recent Kickstarter, I felt #blessed for him to come right into Madtown. Knowing him as lyrically hilarious and a creative veteran with his music videos, it came as no surprise in hindsight how well put together his show was for what low budget hip hop can bring to the table. He started with an opening video, announcing his walk out as if he were an NBA All-Star. He came out hot with one song, took a break to give us a PowerPoint presentation, did some more songs, brought out his hype man, more songs, brought out the strippers (this has been a recurring part of his show), and kept his comedic commentary up throughout. This was a show where I knew many lyrics, and it was subsequently much more fun to rap along with LD. It was cool to meet him and give him a hug after his set. We took an awkward selfie together.
Childish Gambino at the Eagles Ballroom in Milwaukee: I’m divided on the quality of the experience I had at this show. While low volume stereo music played, a screen showed off what everyone was scribbling on their phones via the Deep Web App, which I learned Childish had been using throughout his Deep Web Tour to keep people occupied. It was pretty cool, innovative even. But after seeing people draw up the same temporary Wu-Tang logo and other bathroom graffiti multiple times, it became a stale novelty. Eventually a DJ came out with for a set playing hip hop bangers everyone knows, and that was actually fun. Concerts are one of the few places you are okay with screaming the words to songs you love. Once Gambino finally came out, the place went nuts and packed in as everyone helplessly attempted to phase through the masses of people and get to the front. Getting to the big show early, as always, would have made the show significantly more fun. Instead of actually settling down and listening to the Deep Web band interpret Gambino’s hip hop influenced tracks, I was flowing with the crowd, making sure I didn’t eat shit and that I could actually see Gambino. Yelling along with the main parts of songs was fun, but I really wish I would have been able to experience his entire set for what it really was.
Typhoon at The Sett in Union South in Madison: Despite all the logistical hurdles WUD Music had to jump to make this show happen, I couldn’t be more thankful for their effort. The show was moved to the evening so as not to conflict with the Badgers’ basketball matchup in the final four. So the vibe was automatically different. The 11-piece (yes, 11-piece) band packed the Sett stage, and Badger fans packed the Sett in anticipation of watching the game there. Whether they were there to see the band as well or not, the crowd presence only contributed to the positive atmosphere. It was more than impressive to see all the members perform their arrangements with such precision. Their performance of “Young Fathers” instantly made it my favorite song of theirs. I highly recommend them for a listen.
ScHoolboy Q at The Eagles Ballroom in Milwaukee: Watching a concert in this venue from the VIP balcony was a million times better than attempting to watch from the pits. And I got a sweeeeet pic (see beginning of post). Q played pretty much every song I wanted him to, which was great, but I unfortunately don’t remember all of them as vividly because my watching was interrupted by an individual who decided to start an altercation with me over a younger woman. That’s all I’ll say publicly, but while it was short lived, the memory of that altercation has unfortunately overshadowed part of the memory of ScHoolboy’s performance.
Danny Brown at the Majestic Theater in Madison w/Lucki Ekc$ and ZelooperZ: This. Show. Was. So. TURNT. I couldn’t even take a non-blurry pic. After having enough of the pushing and shoving attempts to get to the front, I backed out and got myself some breathing room. So worth it. Brown played a variety of songs from his catalog: ones from his new album Old that I could rap along to, and ones from his previous album XXX that I could wild out to in the mini mosh pit that formed for part of the show. It’s rap shows like this that impress me most, because of the metal and punk elements that cross over into the genre when the music’s just hard enough. On a separate note, the DJ was doing AIM drops and it was hilarious.
Well, Revelry happened, and the rest is history. Thoughts on June, coming soon.