Kid Cudi, Chip Tha Ripper Reliant Arena July 19, 2011
6:58 p.m.: Pulling up. Holy crap. There is (what seems like) a neverending line of kids waiting to get in. Crazy. There's also a KRBE truck here. Is Kid Cudi a KRBEian now? What's happened?
7:31: The way Reliant Park has this thing set up, there are two sections here. There is a seat section and floor section. The majority of the people are on the floor section (incidentally, that's also where a majority of the stink is). Picture the coliseum in Gladiator. That's what it looks like, but instead of Russell Crowe, there are a bunch of guys in tank tops and a bunch of girls dressed like Janelle Monae. Bring out the tigers.
7:38: You know how they always play a bunch of music right before the show to try and get everyone amped up? Here, they've been playing stuff like William Bell's "I Forgot To Be Your Lover." That's cool, and almost certainly something Cudi requested. He's a curious guy.
7:39: And there are the first "CU-DI, CU-DI" chants. Neat. In the row behind me, there is a group of young teenage boys. They're here with one of the kids' father. He's wearing flip-flops and eating popcorn and drinking a margarita. The boys seem pretty excited about the show. Every time the crowd starts chanting, they do too, except instead of screaming "CU-DI, CU-DI" they shout "PE-NIS, PE-NIS." Love that.
7:41: Hey, look. Some tiny girl and her mother are here. And they're both dressed equally whoreish. That's cute. It's good to bond. Maybe they're trying to get their own episode of 16 and Pregnant?
7:43: The lights have gone off. The people have too.
7:45: The answer: "I'm scared of my lemonade tipping over." What is "Things You Hear At A Kid Cudi Show," Alex? [ding, ding, ding]
7:47: So here's a question: Does it mean anything if you're a rapper and the megamajority of your fan base is white? Like, 15 years ago, that might've been a thing. But is it now?
7:49: Cleveland rapper Chip Tha Ripper is out. He's the opening act, sure, but where are the opening acts for the opening act? Shouldn't there be a stream of dudes coming out, doing three or four songs that we've never heard before? Is this show seriously starting only 19 minutes after it was supposed to? WTH. Is this how they do things in Ohio? Shit, man. It might be time to make a move.
7:54: "Light One Up." In your iPod, Chip is neat. He's a countrified Ohioan, and he almost always grabs some multilayered production. In person - or, in this venue, which is basically a gigantic aluminum can - he isn't big enough to fill the space. Started strong, starting to wane.
7:55: P.S. The chorus for "Light one Up": "Light one up, pass it, and hope that bitch make it back." That's basically the same way we take care of our sons: Get them dressed, send them outside to play, hope those bitches make it back.
8:01: Talking about how Texas rappers have learned to hunt and gather in their own areas because the rest of the country has a bias against them, Chip says something like, "Texas is the only city that supports their artists like that." City, Chip?
8:17: Ack. Man, this guy talks too much. There's a break between every song where he explains something or tries the "All my [weed smokers/pretty women/etc.] make noise" thing or mentions how he's killing it or whatev. Multiple breaks aren't cool in the middle of a show. It throws the rhythm off. It's like sex. You can't keep stopping to explain what you're doing, you just do it and hope the other person (or "people," if you're awesome) like it.
8:30: He's doing the "UAF (Ugly As Fuck)" song. Cool. The sound here isn't excellent -it's too often too hard to hear him over the music--but the bass being canonized here is a good thing. The crowd is all over. Neat moment. He's walking off stage. Good not great.
8:41-8:48: So, here's what's happening: Three girls are in line getting some snacks; pizzas and drinks and whatnot. It's almost $29, which in itself is ridiculous, but that's not the point. One girl is paying for everything. She hands the cashier her card, the cashier swipes it, then she looks at her and says, "It's been declined." Whoops.
Decision time. It's a gift card, apparently, so she pulls out her phone to try and check the balance. This is not a fast process. It was funny at first, but now it's frustrating. The people behind them are beginning to rumble. One of the girls in the group that had wandered off for a second comes back and asks what's up. They tell her the card has been declined. She asks how much it is. They tell her $29. Her response: "Oh, I ain't got that." Then she just walks the fuck away. Hahahaha.
The girl who was supposed to pay, originally, just stands there, holding pizzas and already opened sodas. It's not clear if she's trying the "I'm Just Gonna Wait Here And See If I Can Pressure This Lady Into Giving Me This For Free" move that you can usually get away at fast-food places if you order an extra drink after you've paid and then stand there and fumble around looking for $2, but if she is, it isn't working.
The cashier is a pitbull. She won't flinch. She just stares, dead into her eyes. This is excellent. It's like a standoff in an old western movie, except instead of guns, one woman has a job to do properly and the other one has no common decency. Awesome.
8:54: CUDI! The crowd explodes, explodes, explodes.
9:25: Cudi is an excellent live performer. He's very enthusiastic. He's already done that song about marijuana, that one about possibly being a ghost, that spooky one from the first CD and that one about being up, up and away. If you're not bothered by the whole artsy, I'm-important ethos he carries around with him, it's pretty impossible not to immediately fall in love with the guy.
9:26: By the way, he's been wearing a zip-up sweater this entire time. All of sudden he looks like Linus from Peanuts.
9:28: It's getting good and revved up in here. People are crowd-surfing now. That's a thing they only do at predominantly white shows, FYI. Black people don't crowd surf. They also don't regular surf.
9:28:05: That last timestamp, by the way, was brought to you by the good people at Generalized Stereotypes, helping you be a subtle bigot since 1848.
9:28:15: Cudi has this symbol that they've been playing on the big screen behind him. It's basically a picture of a planets revolving around a sun, but instead of their being a central sun, there's this great big outline of himself. It's like the Cudicentric model of the solar system or something. Copernicus is the one that came up with that version, right?
9:32: So here's another question: The floor section of the show, they're jumping around and going all crazy and mashing into each other and shit (Chip referred to it as "the jungle" earlier). The seated section, though, we're mostly stuck to our chairs, tiny and contained. Do seats homogenize the concert experience at a show like this? Because it kind of feels that way right now.
9:51: Shit, man. More breaks. When we saw Cudi the last time he was in Houston, he was brilliant. He just kept coming. He was a monsoon. He's still excellent when he's performing, he very clearly enjoys himself, but he keeps stopping to talk about things. We get it, Cudi. You're more popular than you were two years ago. But come on.
9:57: He's doing the part of the show where he brings out some guests. He brings Chip back out (they get the biggest reception when they do that song from the Kid Named Cudi tape). He brings out Cage, his bizarro buddy. Cage is dressed in all black. He has bangs that hang over his face. He's kind of chubby, and very certainly looking like Christopher Walken's son in Wedding Crashers. What are they chances that he's snuck into Cudi's sleeping quarters on the tour bus and shoved a sock into his mouth? Gotta be even money, right?
9:59: Cudi is gone. Cage is standing in the middle of stage. All of the lights are blue. He's doing what could almost be classified as sad spoken-word. What the fuck is going on right now?
10:03: Cudi's back! And he's handed the reigns over to his backing band. They're doing "Hey, Joe" by Jimi Hendrix. This place is getting a little spaced out right now. Neat, neat, neat.
10:07: "All of the Lights." The crowd is apeshit.
10:12: He's doing "Mr. Rager" right now and he is ten feet tall.
10:18: Here's how you know that he's been talking too much: He just said, "We're about to do three songs in a row, no breaks. Is that alright?" Three songs. Without a break. Three. Three. Three.
10:26: Three-song set is over. It was as good as you'd want it to be. At the end, he touched on the Crookers remix of "Day and Night" and the place wanted to go up in flames. He only did about 30 seconds of it though. Curious. Wonder if he's tired of it? Whatevs. That means he has to finish with...
10:29: "Pursuit of Happiness"... lights flashing... Cudi singing... crowd pulsating... crowd surfing... band sloshing through the digitization of the song... thump, thump, thump... people told him to slow his roll, he's screaming out "Fuck that"... chorus... screaming... this is what they came for.
Personal Bias: Our sons are Cudi fans. They especially like tha "Welcome to the World" rock song he's featured on.
The Crowd: Was crowdy.
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Overheard in the Crowd: All sorts of shit.
Random Notebook Dump: The group of kids behind us, the ones mentioned earlier in the review that were there with a dad, they were fun. High-five to the dad, though. He just hung out and talked shit with them. There was a point between sets where he and them were talking about the relative hotness of a girl that was the daughter of his ex-girlfriend or something, which was great and creepy. Go, Dads.