Friday, May 22, 2009

Live: MC Chris with Whole Wheat Bread

Six times.

That's how many times I've seen MC Chris live now, and I have to say I still enjoy it. I went in to this show not really excited, not expecting too much, I was going to hang out with my friends. In the almost-three years that I've been going to MC Chris shows, we've ended up getting a nice little following. Every time there are the 3 or 4 people who have seen him before, and the 3 or 4 people that we drag out to the show. It's a constant cycle. But I was happily surprised with the entire night.

The opener was some nerd-core white rapper, in the same vein as MC Chris. I didn't catch his name (well I did but I forget it), and I really don't care. The problem with going to a rap show is that if you don't know the words to the songs it's pretty boring. The music isn't good enough to keep you entertained and it's almost impossible to understand the lyrics at most venues, so the show devolves to the guy coming out making a joke, mumbling along to some blaring repeating house music, then making another witty comment, and back to the tunes. Nothing great. I'm sure if you knew the guy and his works it would have been much more enjoyable.

Next up was Whole Wheat Bread, a punk rock band with rap/hip-hop undertones, oh and did I mention that it's an all-black punk band? I had never heard of them before this nigh, and I only knew that they existed because my old roommate had one of their albums. But these guys kicked ass. All of their songs had a nice groove, I didn't know most of the words (some songs had a chant or a sing-a-long) but I still enjoyed it - a big difference between rap and rock. They played originals and covers, and their live show sounded just like their albums, just a little heavier, something I enjoyed quite a bit. During the middle of their set, they took a break and sang two or three rap covers, just the lead singer/guitarist and the drummer (who sang) and a looping-track. After that it was back to the rock. During the second half of the show a pit formed, and my friends and I couldn't let that go. I like going to punk and ska shows and going into the pit, because often times the people at these shows are not aggressive. Alot of metal shows have really militant people slamming into each other, but at this show it was skinny kids with Mohawks and tight jeans - not a scary crowd. One thing I found funny was that some of the people in the crowd started shouting the Wu Tang Clan chant, except tuned for Whole Wheat Bread: "Whole Wheat Bread ain't nothin' to fuck with! Whole Wheat Bread ain't nothin' to fuck with!" I laughed pretty hard and chanted with the rest.

After WWB were done MC Chris came out and did his thing. Before he got on stage, he opened with some mixed track of weird sounds and songs, something I see at alot of shows. It never makes sense to me, this soft open, often times the music/sounds have nothing to do with the show, and this show was no exception. But the music played and MC came out... and then the music cut quickly, to the surprise of MC Chris, and he left the stage and tried again. He was attempting to film a DVD, so I assume he wanted a solid opening, but I found it very annoying, and unnecessary.
Finally he began to sing, he said his voice was shot, but I didn't notice, as he belted out my favorite songs. It was great, his first six songs were all of my favorites, and the couple after that I knew (but not a favorite). The first half of his set done, and I knew every word to every song. Oh and he sang "Fuckin' Up My Christmas" my favorite song of his! I have seen him half a dozen times now and this is the first time he busted it out. Made my night right there. After his 30-45 min of old material he moved into his new music. I haven't heard his latest album, MC Chris Is Dead, except for one song, and he also sang from his upcoming albums, Part Six Part One and Part Six Part Two, music I have never heard, so most of it was lost on me. It was the same problem I had with the first guy, I didn't know the lyrics of the music so I was bored. This went on for about five more songs. Then MC sang another older song (I forget which one), and left the stage. The lights didn't come up, so we knew there'd be an encore, but to be fair we would have stayed and chanted til he came back out anyway, so at least they were prepared. After a minute or two not only did MC Chris come back to the stage, but he was joined by the gentlemen of Whole Wheat Bread! They all jammed out to "Fette's Vette" off of MC Chris' first album, Life's a Bitch and I'm Her Pimp. It was great. A rap song with heave drums and bass, and a continual guitar solo mixed it, it was like Rage Against The Machine without the guilt-trip. Fabulous way to end the show.

All-in-all it was a good show. I've seen MC Chris with alot of different openers from alot of different genres, but Whole Wheat Bread was by far the best. Their style of rap/punk complimented MC Chris' style, while still keeping to their own devices. I'd happily go see this show again.

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