It's not my scene, and it never has been. I've never actually been to a rap show, but I spent more time with Tech N9ne in high school than any other musician. I remember mowing the lawn with my giant headphones on cranking the strange music from my 80gb iPod Classic. I think it was a form of rebellion from my parents, really - and I'm still not quite sure why I listened to it so much. I was teased by classmates at the time, and I felt power through the music while dealing with my petty adolescent issues. Tech N9ne is rhythmically talented, and presents a rather unique persona, but outside of that, there isn't much quality to the lyrics - it's just really dark, loud, older-school rap. His flow is different from the majority of modern rappers from a music theory context. I'm not sure if he knows rhythm from the theory side, or maybe he just feels it, but I don't hear many rappers using spoken triplets and dynamics the way he does.
In tune with yesterday's blog post, I have just a few artists who have had a decent effect on my life. John Mayer has been that artist for the last few years, but Tech was more-so high school for me. This replaced the pop-punk phase everyone else existed in for a while. The few artists I feel like I need to see live at some point: John Mayer, Panic at the Disco, Ed Sheeran, and Tech N9ne. Sure, there are many I'd like to see, but these have had actual impact. I checked off one of those last night.
I didn't fit in with the concert vibe, and I knew I wouldn't. I didn't have a chain or a flat-brimmed hat. I found one guy wearing a collared shirt like me, but that was like 2/500 individuals. So many Tech N9ne + Strange Music shirts. There was a big dude probably in his mid 50s with a matching hat and shirt having the time of his life. He had a wedding ring, too - so I'm not sure about that. It was an interesting demographic that showed up. Imagine that guy that grows a beard so poorly that you want to buy him a razor. Imagine that guy that's so skinny that when he slumps his shoulders he appears as if he has advanced scoliosis. Imagine that guy that still wears those baggy chain rigged pants that look like he's about to hit the slopes or go back to middle school? Imagine that guy that's 250+ pounds with a baby face and some peach fuzz on his chin, but he tries to act tough like he belongs at the venue. This is everyone, and they're also super high.
Tech started out with Riot Maker - classic. He organized a mosh pit allowing Sean and I to make it to the front, since we were larger than most - except the one obese dude chilling with a snapback, tech shirt, try-hard chin scruff and shorts rubbing on his ankles as he did a cute side-to-side shimmy. There were a few of those guys throughout the night.The show consisted of snippets from all of his popular songs over the year. He has 19 albums according to Spotify, so there's a lot of material to satisfy the crowd. I don't think he ever finished a full song, he just transitioned into different songs. It was genuinely entertaining, but not music I usually listen to anymore.
Tech fans seem more emotionally invested than your average concert goer. He was like a puppet-master controlling the marionette crowd. It was a small platform, but his movements pushed the audience around like dolls. He was tenacious as he moved smoothly across the stage, throwing his arms about, and engaging the crowd with his alpha-dog posture. He wore a creepy white half-mask that dropped down over his eyes as he grasped the mic. His shirt had the reputable '6688847993', or '66-triple8-47-99-3' that can be heard in many of his songs. Maybe a prison identification? Maybe an ex-girlfriends phone number? I'm not sure. When it came time to enter into one of his faster rhythms, he held the mic with one hand and used the other to narrate his words as they came out. The theatrics fogged the room in the sort of way that a deaf man might have been entertained by purely his movements and the thump of the bass on his chest. His boxy beard shook and his head bobbed up and down as he spoke, but his stony gaze still pierced the crowd. As his flattened hand slid horizontally as if he were spinning an invisible DJ's turntables, his mouth seemingly had a teeth-chatter-like vertical seizure when he effortlessly spoke faster than I thought anyone could. Like a sped-up version of someone talking would look. The hypnotist captivated the crowd, and I often stood in admiration without moving. It was a contagious performance that even an uncultured white-boy could get into.
It took place at the Sanctuary Events Center, and while we were waiting for the show to start, there's a basement area that literally feels like that church basement where you'd expect to have a potluck. There were tables, but instead of food, everyone was drinking and socializing. We ended up sitting with a couple who also didn't seem like they belonged. I looked up and said, "You guys don't look like you fit in here." He was a lawyer and she, a nurse. They agreed, and we proceeded to poke fun at the other concert goers who were so much different than us. What an interesting night.
Retrospectively, I'm glad I went. I might have spent $45 on the ticket, and might have spent $30 whiskey-diets, but it was an intense evening filled with all the lovely nostalgia. I think it's important to relive some of the old memories to remember what created you, even if it's less desirable now. As far as the people, I think if the other concert attendees were bloggers, they could hate on me for imposing on their evening. I was a poser. While they may be the minority of society, I was the outlier last night...