Kool Keith at the Belmore/New Skyway Lounge, 12/12/12

Categories: Last Night
Kool Keith 1.jpg

Kool Keith
With Marijuana Deathsquads
The Belmore/New Skyway Lounge, Minneapolis
December 12, 2012

Mid-week shows in winter are typically where good gigs go to die in Minneapolis. It takes a special type of artist to rise above the often crippling cold and work-related malaise that settles in over the city, which in turn keeps most music fans in for the night as they save themselves for the weekend. The live performances that manage to transcend these seasonal obstacles typically end up being some of the best shows of the year, simply because everyone in the club knows just how much it took to leave their warm homes and head out into the frigid night.

Kool Keith's weak, unbalanced 65-minute performance at the Belmore/New Skyway Lounge on Wednesday night (technically early Thursday morning) was the type of scattershot, passionless show where you were left wondering why you even bothered to come down to the club at all.

See Also:
Kool Keith and Har Mar dazzle and bore the Triple Rock
All access: Kool Keith at the Whole Music Club


On a run of shows that Keith has salaciously dubbed the Crotchless Panties Tour, you should expect a set filled with profane, highly sexualized songs. And indeed, the MC did draw liberally from the vulgar tracks in his prodigious back catalog, as well as during three sleazy, insipid freestyles (touching on topics as disparate as Kobe Bryant and Mr. Magoo) which dragged down the early portion of the set. But the few ladies that were in the house didn't connect at all to his crude come-ons, despite his best efforts to "get their panties wet," and the club slowly emptied as the show wore painfully on.

All of that thinly-veiled misogyny could have possibly been overlooked if the rest of the set would have been on fire. But Keith consistently delivered just the hooks and choruses from his biggest hits in 30-second snippets, while brazenly neglecting even a verse from those songs (due to either time constraints or the fact that he couldn't remember his rhymes). So we got just a small, frustrating taste of such hits as "The God of Rap," "Do Not Disturb," "Black Elvis," "White Label Test Press," "Sly We Fly," and "Earth People." Plenty of hip-hop stars do medleys of their biggest hits (in order to put more focus on the new songs they are peddling), but I've never seen an artist just do the hooks of their songs and nothing else. It was a totally weak move by Keith, and made the set sound like a poorly executed mix-tape.

Kool Keith 2.jpg

When he did choose to deliver more than just a fragment of his hits, the results were uneven as well. "Blue Flowers" will always be a club banger, as was the Ultramagnetic MC's classic, "Two Brothers With Checks," and both jams got the crowd moving for one of the only times during the set. But sultry, hyper-sexualized renditions of "Girl Let Me Touch You" and "Sex Style" just seemed to ring hollow in a slowly clearing room that was mostly filled with dudes. Keith obviously has plenty of lyrical talent and a truly distinct flow, but it seemed that he wasn't all that interested in giving his fans what they wanted and instead turned the night into a comedy routine that wasn't all that funny at 1:30 on a weekday morning.

"Raise your hand if you like turkey bacon," Keith asked puzzlingly during one point of the show. But that question seemed astute compared to the raunchy later portion of the set. "How many girls want your butt licked?" he asked suggestively, again to a room filled with mostly guys.

"Raise your hand if you have a boring, conservative woman. One that reads books and wears black because she thinks that's edgy." Keith was cracking himself (along with his hypeman and DJ) up at this point, but for most people in the club, they were left shaking their heads in dismay as they left disappointed and disgusted.

Critic's Notebook:

Personal Bias: I recognize the genius of Dr. Octagonecologyst, but haven't really identified with much of Kool Keith's recent uneven output.

The Crowd: A good turn out at the start of the set that rapidly dwindled as the performance slowly unraveled.

Overheard In The Crowd: "Hey, Keith just said something about Minnesota. That's us!"

Random Notebook Dump: Sadly, even an opening set by Marijuana Deathsquads couldn't salvage this night. The eight-piece group (with the legendary Freddy Votel joining Ben Ivescu and Drew Christopherson for a three-drummer attack that packed the small Belmore stage) was plagued by sound and technical issues that frustratingly delayed the start of their performance. They soldiered on admirably, but Ryan Olson was clearly agitated and unhappy during the set, as he went back to talk to the sound guy on three different occasions during their all-too-short 20 minute set. Everything seemed to finally click on their untamed, inventive last song which got everyone's heads nodding in time to their riotous rhythms, but MDS sadly had to bring their show to an abbreviated end in order to make time for the headliner.



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13 comments
tolstoyevsky
tolstoyevsky

hi this is freddy v from skoal kodiak, deathsquads, psm, tvbc, seawhores, cows, invisible boy, little dog on top of a big dog and the funyuns. this show was really fun i thought. first time seein kool keith as well.i thought he was great and funny as hell. as was his side-kick pal. and the dj dude with them did what he needed to do.i couldn't believe so many people left during his set [which sounded excellent btw. major props to good sir scotomox and charlie g].i suppose he didn't have a buncha booty swingin ladies on stage while he was singin about ass for over an hour. c'est la vie, pearls before swine i reckon. one persons trash is anothers treasure and all that        

Greg Anderson
Greg Anderson

There was not one person I talked to, last night, today and tonight, that was at the show that had a negative thing to say about it, except this fucking guy. Everyone had a blast. Keith was Keith. Keith has been dirty since day one of his solo career. This writer is expecting Dr. Octagon to walk on stage? He did that almost 17 years ago. He came out with "Sex Styles" around the same time, he has always been dirty. This isn't a new thing! If you know the name of his midwest tour is called "The Crotchless Panties Tour" What do you think you're going to see, Radiohead? If you're a fan and you have actually seen him live before, or followed his career, you know what you're getting and what to expect. He has 24 years of albums and songs, and this guy is slamming him for playing 20 seconds of certain songs? He has an hour to cram in a ton of shit, and I think he did a fucking great job of giving fans what they wanted. Of course we all want to hear every song in full, but that is not possible when someone goes on stage at almost 1am and the bars close at 2am in this town. Fuck, it's not possible when someone has 3 hours with the same lengthy catalog. I will take some responsibility for the opening acts going on later than we were supposed to, but we pushed it back because we were waiting for more people to get into the bar. I wanted Deathsquads to play longer than they did (and they did play for almost 40 minutes, not 20) but time constraints made their set shorter, unfortunately (Every other opening act played only 20-25 minutes) Keith was the headliner and we wanted him on by 12:30 to allow time after for him to take pictures and sign autographs. But, he went on later. The Belmore's owner and staff was gracious enough to let Keith play longer and later, and also gave fans time to stay, get photos taken and get his autograph. The show was great, and the only person walking out of the Belmore shaking their head in disgust, was the pretentious boy, who wrote this review.

GroupieHo
GroupieHo

Really were we at the same show? If you don't really feel like leavingyour house mid week in the winter time, maybe you should not be anentertainment writer. Furthermore, I  find your opinion to be highlyuninformed, and really can't seem to find any other review written byyou on a hip hop artist NOT from Minneapolis. This seems to be a case of a self important, pompous"let's only show love for who shows me love" type of person that makesartists visit our city once and never come back. Your editors should beashamed of themselves for letting you think you have a valid point of view about shows like this.

Stuttering John
Stuttering John

He is definitely hit or miss live. I personally don't like turkey bacon either.

Aaron Bjorge
Aaron Bjorge

All hip-hop shows suck? Coming from a guy with a duck face for his profile pic...

PJ Mudd
PJ Mudd

Sounds like I made the right choice to stay home. ;)

pilkington007
pilkington007

Those are the best pictures you could get of the show??

Brandon Garcia
Brandon Garcia

Here's a thought....ALL hip hop shows SUCK. QUIT FINDING REASONS TO HAVE THEM!!!!!

severlydisappointed
severlydisappointed

@Greg Anderson Your scathing defense of the show your promoted doesn't change anyone's experience there. It only makes potential fans write you off as a musician and promoter.

severlydisappointed
severlydisappointed

@GroupieHo I think this assessment was spot on. I am a huge Kool Keith fan and I found the set to be painfully terrible. All of the opening acts had good energy but were plagued but the absolutely atrocious sound mix that was eluded to in the article. I was super excited for this show and drug several people out to it and they thought I was crazy after the show. It was embarrassing. I completely support people having their own opinions; people like different things. One of the people I brought also had the same feeling as stated above regarding how frustrating it was to have KK drop hooks and skip song to song but not actually share verses on many. We couldn't bare to stay for the close of the set.You seem quick to attack what your self-imposed idea of what the writer's objective was but yet do not offer an ounce of any substance about what you liked about the show. I'd be curious to hear.

stern467
stern467

@pilkington007 We had 3 phtotgraphers at the show, some have been downloaded on facebook with more to come. This idiot took shitty cell phone pictures, along with his shitty review

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