Last Night: RZA at Warehouse Live

RZA Warehouse Live October 16, 2012

At three separate intervals of Tuesday night, Wu-Tang Clan leader RZA took to a table, grabbed a bottle of alcohol and declared, "Tonight isn't about me rapping -- it's about a celebration."

Indeed it was. The Clan head and master of Shaolin had been hard at work for the past seven years attempting to get his new kung-fu flick The Man With The Iron Fists to be taken seriously. Not since RZA's mentor Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill series has a martial-arts flick made it to the big screen in America and been given such wide acclaim and release.

So he passed around a bottle of champagne and the rabid crowd began to sip, then a "Christmas special" bottle of Hennessy before a bottle of Patron. Whoever thought it would be a great night to work the bar at Warehouse obviously felt their hearts crushed amid the sea of free liquor.

"I want everyone to raise a finger in the air and on the count of three say, "Thank you RZA!" he announced. It may sound selfish but in actual context, RZA made the crowd become Ol' Dirty Bastard for a moment, regaling one another with yells of "Shimmy Shimmy Ya." Thankfully, nobody decided after the show to go pick up a WIC check in a Benz or a limo.

Yet when you gaze around the crowd, a mixed group of youth and Wu diehards, you couldn't put it past yourself that such a moment could happen within the next 24-48 hours. Wu-Tang fans live and die by their nine heroes, and it's a global phenomenon considering that I witnessed the same fury and clamor for more Wu during a Raekwon/GZA set in Atlanta.

With a catalog that spans some 20 years, Bobby Digital had room to toy around, hence leading off with some Gravediggaz material like "Nowhere To Run, Nowhere To Hide" and "1-800-Suicide." But he also dabbled in more noted Wu works such as "Clan In Da Front," "Wu-Tang Clan Ain't Nothin' Ta Fuck Wit'," "Bring tha Ruckus" and "Gravel Pit" with Wu brother U-God.

I must say, though, I don't recall any point in the Wu discog that has a spaghetti western with a dash of '70s blaxpoitation funk version of The Beatles' "Come Together," but I damn sure learned it exists.

As he closed with his interpretation of The Whatnauts' "Message From a Black Man," RZA asked everyone to throw their hands in the air, representation of not only the 5 Percent but also to relish in the fact that a closed fist means power. Then we sang "You Can't Stop Me Now" like it was ordained from the ministers of Wu and then tossed the the W signal up.

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Brandon Caldwell has been writing about music and news for the Houston Press since 2011. His work has also appeared in Complex, Noisey, the Village Voice & more.
Contact: Brandon Caldwell