I've stood around at a lot of concerts and waited. Waited for the bands to get on stage, waited for the artists to sound check and sometimes (God forbid) even waited in line. Sometimes it can be fun watching your favorite artist's set-up their show. You catch a glimpse of that personal behind the scenes moment of tearing down and setting up, tweaking the knobs and strumming the strings, and of course the lovely vocal inflection mic check (Ayy ayy, one, two, check, check, aaayyy aaayyyy!) Yes, I've seen a lot of things while I've waited at a lot of shows, but tonight at the Knitting Factory I am witnessing a brand new and unique interaction take place between artist and fan. While waiting on stage for their technical difficulties to be cleared up, Florida rappers Bleubird and Astronautalis whip out their chap sticks and begin engaging in a creative chapstick placement competition with two young ladies in the front of the stage to pass the time. Interlocking arms, taking whiffs of the fragrant cherry aroma, and sliding the lubricant across the fans' lips as if drawing a nike swoosh are just a few of the interactions that take place. With everyone else in the venue watching and some of the girls being turned on, this was the only the beginning of the duos madness.
Before tonight's show got kicked off I was standing outside the venue talking with a DJ friend of mine. We'll call him Eric because that's his name. Eric and I were standing near his car when a certain walkie-talkie, laminate bearing gentleman came up to us asking if said car belonged to either one of us. "Yea" Eric responded, "It's mine." The walkie-talkie man proceeded to tell us we had to move the car to make way for the production trucks that would be parking along the street. Eric had a great spot on Hollywood blvd and didn't want to move his car but felt a bit more relieved when we found out it was for the HBO show Entourage. "Since it's Entourage I wont make a fuss about it" he mentioned to me, "But next time they need to put up some damn no parking signs."
I mention this story because it was proper timing when a few hours later, Bleubird is kicking off his set screaming into the mic "Fuck Entourage for the traffic jam on Hollywood boulevard...we don't need that traffic in our lives tonight!" I yelled in agreement and flashed Eric a grin. Next, faster than I could laugh out loud, Bleu and Astronautalis were breaking into an acapella of Green Day's "Do You have the Time" which- after the guitar noises- lead into a rap verse from Bleu at 200 words per minute. It was a dope and unique transition, smooth and captivating. Bleus rap style was like a Slug meeting an Eminem meeting 3 Bizzy Bones meeting one Rick Flair. Astronautalis posed as an awesome hypeman, never leaving his post in a wooden chair and interjecting punch lines to compliment Bleu's tangents and rants. They were Penn and Teller if the other one spoke. "We've been crushing Extenze pills and rubbing it all over our rap careers for months" Bleu yelled, " And have been getting bigger and stronger every single day", "Our myspace has a lot of girth" Astronautalis added.
At times, I wasn't sure if these guys were making up the material on the spot or if they were writing sketches from show to show. I really didn't care, their Flight of the Concords chemistry was refreshing and entertaining. Their songs were original and creative, with song titles like "Crybaby Crunk", "Clean Your Plate", "Read a book" (a homage to great American literature) and one of my favs, "Cum On Betty" which ended in the oral hygiene dance directions of "Brush your teeth, now brush your teeth, do the Listerine, do the Listerine, now try to finger floss, try to finger floss!"
Not many people are conjuring up the sort of creative vocab that Bleu and Astronautilis seem to speak with eloquence and ease. Singing "I'm your sexasaurus" to R.Kelly instrumentals and rapping memorable lines like "I'm a melting pot of what used to be hot now I'm blinded by the present" are just a few gems that are laid in the gold mine of the duo's music. There is a lot of something for everybody. And who else is ending rap songs with two minutes of (In Rick Flair's voice) WOOOO!!