Fat Tony, B L A C K I E The Backroom at the Mink November 26, 2010
10:48 p.m.: Ah, the age-old Jacket Dilemma: Tonight, it is 40 or so degrees outside. And the only viable (free) parking spot near The Mink is more than a block and a half away. The predicament is clear: Wear a jacket from the car to the bar, knowing that once inside the cramped, sweaty Backroom at The Mink it will be rendered useless, cumbersome even; or leave the jacket in the car and freeze for the two minutes it will take to walk to the venue's door, but be free and unfettered once inside.
Typically, this is an easy decision to make; little is as frustrating as keeping an eye on a coat in a crowded room. But tonight, it's a decision being made only under the pretense of cold-weather casualty. The jacket is new. Brand new. And supercool. It has buttons on the shoulders. And we want everyone on the planet to see it. "What's taking so long," the wife asks. Think, think, think.
10:52: Fuck, it's hot in here. Totally should have left this jacket in the car.
10:59: Man, in examination, Fat Tony has strange fans. Not weird fans - weird fans are expected - but strange. One guy looks like he just walked off the set of From Dusk Til Dawn, another looks exactly like what you'd picture a racist guy to look like.
11:34: B L A C K I E, perhaps the most violently pleasing performer in the city, is minutes away from performing inside the suddenly shrinking venue. Doom, as they say, is impending. Have you ever seen a Ron Jeremy anal scene? Knowing what B L A C K I E's about to do in here is akin to knowing what Jeremy is about to do right before the scene gets started; i.e. he's going to be fucking some shit up.
11:34:30: That simile in the timestamp above, we mentioned it to our wife (who is here tonight as well) as soon as we thought it. Her response: A slow, disapproving headshake, followed promptly with a, "Can you explain to me again why I let you father my children?" It seemed like a clever simile is all, we respond. "No, it seems like I made a mistake," she retorts. Women never appreciate a good anal-sex reference.
11:44: B L A C K I E is sound-checking: "Microphone check, break a nigga's neck. Microphone check, break a nigga's neck. Microphone check, break a nigga's neck." Jesus, this guy doesn't even warm up normally. Wouldn't it be excellent if every one of the rote memorizations normal people learned growing up exist in B L A C K I E's universe with some sort of similarly perverse tail end to them?
How ill would it be if he were there teaching his son (blackie, no caps, no spaces) how to tie his shoes and was like, "Okay, son. There's an easy trick to remembering how to do this. It's a simple rhyme. It goes, 'Over, under, around and through, stomp a bitch in the teeth with your steel-toed shoe.' Got it? Great, son. Great."
11:53: He's started. Let's see how long it takes before he jumps down into the crowd.
11:53:02: And he's in the crowd.
11:55: By the by, the Hipster to Human ratio is pretty absurd right now. Just about everyone in here has on at least one piece of clothing they'd likely categorize as clever or ironic.
11:57: The B L A C K I E maelstrom is in full bloom as he does his punch-a-hole-in-the-universe stage show; he's up onstage, he's off stage, he's hanging from the rafters, he's climbing on things and people, he's in the crowd while people fly around him like charged particles. Fewer things are more enjoyably frantic than a B L A C K I E show.
11:59: He's doing that "Dope and Doper" song that makes people manic. It's nutsos in here. There should totally be some sort of legal statute that protects people from incurring any kind of legal ramifications for something they did at a B L A C K I E show.
Judge: You're hereby charged with manslaughter in the first degree. How do you plead?
Defendant: Not guilty, your honor.
Judge: You're aware that 34 people watched you stomp a man's head in, aren't you?
Defendant. Yes, sir. But in my defense, I was at a B L A C K I E show when I snapped.
Judge: Oh. Was he performing "Dope & Doper"?
Defendant: Yes, yes he was.
Judge: Oh, man. That song fucking owns. It gets me so amped up.
Defendant: Yep, yep.
Judge: Case dismissed.
12:03: He's done. The "Bla-ckie, Bla-ckie, Bla-ckie" chants start immediately after he finishes. The mob approves of his frenzy tonight. If you've never bothered to notice, pay close attention to B L A C K I E right when his show is finished as he tries to stagger to whereever it is he goes immediately after his show is over.
He looks absolutely spent. He looks exactly how our fatter son looks when we tell him that he can't eat any more Hershey's kisses, which is to say that he looks like he's going to die.
12:19: Fat Tony, three-time winner of The Obi, is up. His is a curious case, isn't it? How else can you describe a guy that has arguably been the most dominant underground rapper in his weight class in Houston for the past three years without releasing a proper album until just recently? He basically convinced everyone he was the best street fighter without ever actually getting into a street fight. It's hard to bet against a guy like that.
12:20: "Rap Babies." Excellent song.
12:23: "Like Hell Yeah." The remix for this song, which appears on his RABDARGAB EPreview, is just about flawless, but the original version is monumental live. His enthusiasm is bubbling over, culminating in him one hand clinging to a rafter, jerking his head side to side as he delivers the "She had a good personality, never told me no fallacies, said that her name was Valerie" rifle-shot part of the second verse. The crowd is in fits.
12:38: Okay, after much discussion, here's the dream concert lineup for this subset of underground Houston rap, the subset that doesn't involve any gangster rap whatsoever:
- Simple Success: A live show that includes a projector but still isn't pretentious
- Preemo: Somehow still underrated, even though it was pretty obvious when he released his second mixtape that he read all of the nice things people were saying about his first.
- B L A C K I E: So furious he makes murder okay.
- Hollywood FLOSS: Perhaps the most charming, most fun live show guy in Houston.
- Fat Tony: You already know why he's on this list.
12:43: Tony has touched briefly on just about all of the songs from RABDARGAB, which probably isn't so surprising since this is his release party for it. At the moment, he's doing "Home," the album's spaced-out opus. Let's revisit an earlier summation of the album:
RABDARGAB is, as Tony has become fond of saying, a testament to his adolescence: Weed, women, drunkenness, music, latent braggadocio, overt braggadocio, dick-grabbing, etc. etc. And that only sounds mildly interesting, because adolescents rarely say anything insightful on purpose. But indirectly, they say insightful things all the time - the entire "Home" song is one great big metaphor, even though he never intended for it to be (which is sort of the point).
Yep, that still sounds right.
12:45: "Encore! Encore! Encore!"
12:45:10: He bites. He's back, performing his live-show-only "Buy My Shit!" track.
12:48: A countless amount of rap music was released in Houston this year. Still, it's hard rowing trying to find, say, more than three or four albums that are better than RABDARGAB (full Top 10 list coming soon, by the way). Proper showing by everyone involved.
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Personal Bias: I really, really enjoy bean and cheese tacos. This bias has no bearing on this concert review per se, but it's still a personal bias.
The Crowd: Was enthusiastic. Every rapper should target the 18-23 year-old hipster demographic. They go bonkers at live shows.
Overheard In the Crowd: "I'm next in line, bitch." The Mink's Backroom needs to up their bathroom game.
Random Notebook Dump: There were several people that came up and were like, "Hey, Shea, what's going on? You been good?" and I had no idea who they were. I suppose this should make me feel a little cool, but it mostly just made me feel like a shitty person. Sorry.