Aesop Rock

Aesop Rock

Aesop Rock

Blockhead and Black Moth Super Rainbow

Orlando, Florida • Saturday, November 9, 2007

Port-o-potties and a beer stand do not a $15 show make. Orlando’s Anti-Pop Music Festival banished Aesop Rock and company to the Social’s back parking lot for their performances. The concert stage was like Transformers meets Pimp My Ride — an 18-wheeler that transformed into a concert stage with massive speakers, lighting and a video screen. Blockhead kicked things off with instrumentals from his Music by Cavelight and Downtown Science albums, throwing in a bizarre remix of Chris Isaacs’ “Wicked Game.” I never tire of watching audiences watching DJs stand on stage and do nothing… don’t they know where the beer stand is? It’s next to the port-o-potties. Black Moth Super Rainbow were nowhere near as hippy-dippy in person as on mp3, their groovy bass lines and synthesized vocals sounding much like the French duo Air.

<div class="i-credit">S D Green</div>

S D Green

alt=”Aesop Rock”/>

S D Green
Aesop Rock

[/caption]

Speaking of air, this kind of venue could spell disaster for Aesop. Hip-hop shows are notorious for poor sound. Open-air concerts, the great devourers of sonic separation, can make even 50 Cent’s nursery rhymes hard to hear. Aesop’s polysyllabic riddles require a lyric sheet and a bouncing ball if you have any hopes of deciphering the words:

“Put one up shackle me, not clean logic procreation/I did not invent the wheel I was the crooked spoke adjacent/While the triple sixers lassos keep angels roped in the basement/I walk the block with a halo and a stick poking your patience…”

Not exactly hip-hop haiku. None of this, of course, should translate into a rocking concert, but something transformative happened to Aesop’s music in this setting. The obtuse sound actually worked to his favor. He stuck mostly to new material off his latest, None Shall Pass, sprinkling in fan favorites like “Lucy” from his Labor Days EP. The open-air audio reduced the low-key title track off None Shall Pass to a pounding two-note bass line that barely registers on the recording. Similarly, shuddering bass goosed the reflective mood piece “Daylight” into a thumping dance track. The tune got the crowd chorus chanting and doing their hip-hop tomahawk thing (one arm in the air bobbing like an ocean of castaways).

Aesop is more animated than you would think such an intricate MC would be. With the music all low-end, it left plenty of room for his lyrics to cut through — at least at the front of the stage. His delivery was crisp (he even dropped a verse a cappella), and he didn’t miss a word, bobbing and weaving all over, showing love to both sides of the stage, and stopping to rap along with hype man Rob Sonic — a great MC in his own right who probably should have opened the show. The fans fed off Aesop’s energy and did their best to wiggle, shake, and reiterate what snippets of his lyrics they knew. Credit the strong female presence in the audience – at least half were women – with the positive vibe, helping to soften up the hip-hop bros who usually just mean mug, nod, and blow weed smoke into the air.

In the end, the workman in Aesop adjusted to the liabilities of the “venue”. It would be great to see him in a more intimate setting where the storyteller, “Aesop,” side of him could shine, but when called on to “Rock,” he could punch the clock and get down to work.

Aesop Rock: www.definitivejux.net/jukies/aesop_rock

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Recently on Ink 19...

  • The Reading Room
    The Reading Room

    Today’s episode features author Anna-Marie O’Brien talking about her book Adventures of a Metalhead Librarian: A Rock N’ Roll Memoir with Ink 19’s Rose Petralia.

  • Bush Tetras
    Bush Tetras

    Rhythm and Paranoia (Wharf Cat). Review by Scott Adams.

  • Tom Tom Club
    Tom Tom Club

    The Good The Bad and the Funky (Nacional). Review by Julius C. Lacking.

  • Barnes & Barnes
    Barnes & Barnes

    Pancake Dream (Demented Punk Records). Review by Carl F. Gauze.

  • Jeremiah Lockwood
    Jeremiah Lockwood

    A Great Miracle: Jeremiah Lockwood’s Guitar Soli Chanukah Album (Reboot). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • Metallica: The $24.95 Book
    Metallica: The $24.95 Book

    From an underground band that pioneered the thrash metal sound, to arguably the biggest rock act in the new millennium, Metallica has had a long and tumultuous history. Ben Apatoff scours a myriad of sources to catalog this history in his new book.

  • Araceli Lemos
    Araceli Lemos

    Shortly after AFI Fest 2021 wrapped, Generoso spoke at length with director, Araceli Lemos about her award-winning and potent feature debut, Holy Emy. Lemos’s film uses elements of body horror in her story about the exoticization of two Filipina sisters living in Greece and how that exploitation creates a distance between them.

  • Southern Accents 55
    Southern Accents 55

    A woofin’ good time with cuts from Hank Williams, Muddy Waters, Delta Moon and more from KMRD 96.9, Madrid, New Mexico!

  • Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead
    Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead

    Absurdism with a healthy dose of air conditioning.

  • Mixtape 172 :: My Old Bassist
    Mixtape 172 :: My Old Bassist

    Like pre-teens throwing every liquid into the kitchen blender and daring each other to drink the results, Woody and Jeremy fuse all manner of sounds legitimate and profane into some murky concoction that tastes surprisingly good.

From the Archives