Aesop Rock and Kimya Dawson at The Triple Rock, 5/21/2011

Aesop played a good mix of old and new.

Aesop played a good mix of old and new.

Aesop Rock and Kimya Dawson May 21, 2011 Triple Rock Social Club, Minneapolis

Aesop Rock and Kimya Dawson make for a strange duo. In fact, that might be an incredible understatement.

Aesop is one of the smartest, quickest-witted, and most poetic rappers in rap. Known for his complicated and abstract lyrics, he sings philosophically about work, the Universe, and everything in between.

Dawson is the proud queen of Dorkdom, most famous for her simple, cutesy songs featured on the Juno soundtrack.


So what the hell are these two doing touring together?

Well, apparently they have more in common than first glance suggests. Aside from touring together, Aesop is featured on a good chunk of Dawson's forthcoming solo album, Thunder Thighs, from which they played several songs Saturday night at The Triple Rock. Dawson also announced Saturday that they're working on a collaborative album, though they've yet to come out with a band name.

And ya know, maybe it could work. The two played a few songs together Saturday, and they didn't sound half bad. Check it out here. As for the individual performances, it's probably safe to say that Dawson fans got what they came for Saturday. She played several of her hits, a few songs off her kids' album, Alphabutt, and some newer songs that seem to focus on darker, more serious subject matter.

But the highlight of the night was undoubtedly Aesop Rock, joined by DJ Big Whiz and Rob Sonic. The three comprise Hail Mary Mallon, a side project that just released an album on the Rhymesayers label.

Here's a clip from the Madison show on Friday of Aesop Rock and friends playing "None Shall Pass," a single from the 2007 album of the same name:

On top of the new stuff with Dawson and Haily Mary Mallon, Aesop dug up a good mix of his older songs. He played a few off his 2001 Labor Days album, and at one point reached back to the slightly more obscure 2000 release, Float.

It had been a long time since Aesop Rock played a full-length show in Minneapolis, but it was well worth the wait and the cozy Triple Rock was the perfect venue. I personally haven't seen a better show all year.

Critic's Bias: I'm a huge fan of Aesop Rock, and I've always wanted to see him. The Crowd: Sold-out. Pretty obvious by appearances who was there to see which act. Definitely some confusion at times. Overheard in the crowd: Good thing the world didn't actually end before this. Random Notebook Dump: Kimya Dawson says farts a lot.