April 16th, 2012
This show is a bit of a surprise. A) It’s Monday. 2) It’s at the Blockley instead of the TLA or the Trocadero or something. III) How in the hell did these two team up? We’re not complaining, but this is a pleasantly odd pairing. For instance, let me take you back for a minute.
It was two (wait, three?) summers ago that a Making Time happened at an outdoor space on Columbus Avenue called Bamboo Bar. A visit to their site yields an uninvited J Lo and Pitbull moment. !!! was going to headline and I’d never seen them before but was a HUGE fan of their first two records: !!! (2001) and Louden Up Now (2004). They embodied a sound in their records that was deeply funky, inventive in its instrumentation, unbelievably dance-friendly and not pop but also not “dance music.” Louden Up is full of insane tracks like “Dear Can,” “Hello? Is This Thing On?” and the “Shit Scheisse Merde” series. Myth Takes (2007) had happened at this point, as well, but didn’t have its hold on me the way their previous work had. Suffice it to say, I was informed, in good spirits because it was a beautiful night and I had a homegirl from college newly in Philly, and we were on time. Well, like you might imagine at a Making Time at a pool, the sluts came out. And Nic Offer, the lead singer, let them all up on stage. Soon enough, there were a dozen drunk sluts dancing up on the stage, and, for the record, none were male. Horrible dancers, all of them, and Offer’s just loving what he must’ve perceived as his cultivation of mayhem, a hedonistic sense of ‘This is YOUR party!’ It ended up feeling like a bad MTV Spring Break program. Unfortunate, for sure. But there is little doubt that that WILL NOT be the case tonight at the Blockley. THOSE drunk sluts rarely make it west of the Schuykill.
While we’re going back, let’s go back to 1993. When Reachin’ (A New Refutation of Time and Space) came out, it was “Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat)” that caught popular culture’s attention. But as a middle schooler who inherited my brother’s TAPE collection when he went to college, it was the coolest thing to listen to. Then a year later, Blowout Comb came out and it was a masterpiece. There are songs on that record that still stand as some of the most sublime jazzy hip-hop numbers. “9th Wonder (Blackitolism)” is such a chill, classic-sounding and methodically-rapped track with an unforgettable “Fatta than a ‘94 Land Cruisa” line in it. When Doodlebug formed Shabazz Palaces almost 15 years later, he would employ some of DP’s characteristic futurism, philosophical adventurousness and also his old group’s chilled-out vibes.
So the mavens of funky punky arty dance music team up with the pioneers of relaxed and blissed-out space hip-hop. At the Blockley. On a Monday night. Thanks, WXPN. See you guys there.