With Clent Eastwood, Tony Bones and Big WiZ, Anthony Apollo, and The Lioness
Friday, July 12, 2013
Doug E. Fresh brought an old school party to the Cabooze on Friday, cycling through a number of classic joints with his trademark charisma and impressive beatboxing. A certified legend of hip-hop, Fresh's set was fun, light-hearted, and got the packed Cabooze moving.
Host DJ Snuggles, who performed his own beatboxing techniques at various points during the night, introduced opener the Lioness to a slow-building crowd, who proceeded to run through a number of excellent tunes. Her stage presence maintains an understated energy, adding a subtle brashness to her confident flow. Definitely a name to pay attention to, the Lioness has only gotten tighter and more engaging since she started rapping. By the time she brought BdotCroc on stage with her for "Stick Em Up," the audience was won over and gave the Lioness resounding applause.
While the following set from Anthony Apollo had some interesting elements to it, the sound was off and had the backing vocals far louder than him. The rude but entertaining tribute to oral sex was kept afloat by the off-kilter rhyme patterning, but ultimately I can't totally back a set where the backtrack does most of the work. The Long Doe set that followed, with Tony Bones, Big WiZ and the Anchormen all onstage, was a reminder of classic Minneapolis rap skills, and their smoked-out boom-bap left a big impression on the night. Clent Eastwood came on next, inching towards overstuffing the opening slots with a chaotic roster of rappers onstage at once, but their infectious sing-song swag sound won me over in the end.
The DJ spun for a while afterwards but eventually Doug E. Fresh emerged at about 1 am. He said he spent 4 hours in the airport in D.C. but he was able to convince the pilot to get him to Minneapolis in time for the big party. By then, the place was thick and it was evident this was an older crowd, which Fresh played up en masse. The night was fueled by nostalgia, as Fresh acted as Master of Ceremonies in front of his DJ team Get Fresh Crew, who spun snippets of favorites from Biz Markie, Jackson 5, and numerous other gems from the glory days. Performing very little original material, this was essentially a DJ set with an especially vibrant and entertaining host.
Towards the end of the set he jumped into staples "La Di Da Di" and "The Show," which still sound incredible, and Fresh was at his best when the his songs demanded more intensive performances. At various points he was beatboxing with a harmonica, rapping hard, dancing and executing B-Boy moves, and crowd-warming all at once. Mostly he talked over music in a "remember this song?" sort of fashion, upping the nostalgia element every time he talked about black and white TVs or the Humpty Dance.
His foray into some music from the new era included his new version of Cali Swag District's "Teach Me How To Dougie," appropiately enough, claiming himself as the orginator of the dougie and proving his dance skills. He is truly a rap renaissance man, touching on a little bit of everything but never fully going all out with any one thing save for the extended beatboxing sessions towards the middle of the set.
This might have seemed like a cop-out in other circumstances, paying good money to see an artist mostly rock other people's songs. But the crowd was consistently amped, and Fresh has the charisma necessary to make the show vibrant, engaging, and overall a lot of fun. Few could handle a show like this as well as he did, and he kept going until the lights came on and the club closed. It was worth the wait, and he managed to bring a lot to the table and make the night a party.
Critic's Bias: I typically like to see people perform their own material a bit more but Fresh's attitude and stage presence won me over.
Overheard In The Crowd: The words to nearly every song played.
The Crowd: Mostly older rap fans.
Let Me Clear My Throat
Break It Down
Clap Yo Hands
I'll Take You There
More Bounce To The Ounce
Fat Albert Theme Song
Ain't Nothing Wrong
I Like It
Sanford And Son Theme/Jeffersons Theme/Cheers Theme/Good Times Theme
I Got 5 On It
Just A Friend
Teach Me How To Dougie
La Di Da Di
All I Do Is Win
Bitches Love Me