Busdriver! (And El-P and Dizzee Rascal, too)


The headline never tells you all you need to know about a news story, and sometimes the opening act is a better story than the headlining band. So it is with tomorrow's show at the Triple Rock.

Reading the preview, you see why hip-hop heads are hyped up to see El-P and Dizzee Rascal. Which is fine. There are two words at the end, though. Two important words. "With Busdriver."

Busdriver is a prodigiously gifted brainiac given to rhymes on fast-forward, beats psychedelic and jazzy, and innovative and dense wordplay. The artist also known as Regan Farquhar's latest full-length cracked my Top 10 albums of 2007 list, and it's probably his third-best disc (behind Temporary Forever and Fear of A Black Tangent). Before I saw those two words, I was very content to send Nate Patrin to the El-P and Dizzee Rascal show while I spent the evening chilling with my dogs. Now? Well, if you see somebody bouncing after the opener, it's probably me.

While I'm obviously a Busdriver believer, it's only fair to note that he's hit-or-miss, both onstage and on record. Three of his CDs should be in every fan of rap music's collection. The others, well ... I'm a huge fan of those three I mentioned. And while each time I've seen him live it's been transcendent, others have told me that the intricate sound arrangements he produces in the studio don't always translate to a stage.

Busdriver's not for everyone. His manically fast style alienates some, and he's been accused of wordiness or weirdness or worse. But absinthe isn't for everybody either. Yes, that's a ringing endorsement. Of both.

To get a taste of absinthe, roll by Cafe Lurcat. To get a taste of Busdriver, sample this live MP3 recorded on the Current. If you're looking for more, go for "Unemployed Black Astronaut" off of Fear of a Black Tangent. After listening to those two, you'll know whether or not this is your thing. If it's not, I won't judge.

But if it is, you'll know why I might show up at the Triple Rock just for the opening act.