January 28: Big Boi

The Ogden played host to Big Boi last night. This marked my second hip-hop show in just under a week. Last week was an all-woman cover group experience of Wu Tang Clan, in the notably smaller, cozier Walnut Room. This time, the show was bigger, and maybe a little too big for this just-more-than-casual hip-hop fan. I was psyched for Big Boi. I was attending the show with a great group of friends. I was a static ball of energy and excitement. And then, throughout the show, which was pleasingly crowded; a contrast to my usual Indie Rock show experience, I was once punched in the head (or elbowed, I'm not sure, but it was surely unintentional) and had beer/booze poured or spilled on me 4 times. Now, I'm complaining, I know, and sounding old, I know. This was a different crowd that I am used to. I stuck it out. And really, the crowd was the only aspect to detract from the show. And that's cool.

We missed the initial opener, but I caught all of the Eligh and Scarub set (both from Living Legends). They were solid and Eligh's style, a sort of high-speed, Eminem-esque ramble rap, was mostly enjoyable. But I preferred Scarab's more metered, bouncing and poetic style. In any case, they played a long set and riled up the crowd. Hip-hop shows are about a lot of bonding with the artist/following instructions. It's an interesting phenomenon to be implore consistently to put one's hands in the air or to dance a certain way, when a large portion of the actual lyrics in these songs have a deeper, personal historical or social commentary meaning. And, if it's a party and everyone already knows, and everyone is already feeling the beat and moving, is all the suggestion of additional action like a touch of a protesting too much? That's a rhetorical thought. I enjoy the genre and the music, and its active, energized party-centric ethos.

When Big Boi finally took the stage, the show picked up. The energy grew and value of being there became hugely apparent. For one, Big Boi, live, is incredible. The awe-inspiring thing about rap and hip-hop is the energy and ability to actually rattle vocally so well, filled with strength and guts, and still artistic. So, seeing Big Boi control the stage and lead the audience was nothing short of exceptional. His actual set was a decent mix of old and new. He performed at least 4 Outkast songs, but my count could be short. And then numerous tracks from Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty. The Outkast stuff was what went straight to my heart, into my wheelhouse; "Ms. Jackson" and "The Way You Move" being the highlights. And for "The Way You Move" Big Boi brought a gaggle of ladies from the crowd up on stage to dance. Including a couple of my friends, and their red oven mitt (but, really, that's another story). All-in-all, this was a spectacular show. And even though I went to bed hearing only the ocean echoing in my head (that lil post-concert deafness), there's some unforgettably great live hip-hop burned in there too. Big Boi is a show to see. Check him out next time he's in your neck of the woods.

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