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Lizzo at Triple Rock, 12/28/13

Lizzo at Triple Rock, 12/28/13
Photo by Erik Hess

Lizzo: Lizzobangers Release Party

with Lazerbeak and Plain Ole Bill
Triple Rock Social Club, Minneapolis
Saturday, December 28, 2013

Having taken her act on the road with Har Mar Superstar for a good chunk of the tail-end of 2013, Lizzo returned to Minneapolis for a solo performance to finally celebrate the release of her stellar debut Lizzobangers. The album's producer Lazerbeak was in tow with Get Cryphy alum Plain Ole Bill for their own solo sets, making for an evening full of gigantic beats and a proper capper to a breakout year in Lizzo's career.


Plain Ole Bill quietly took stage and proceeded to spin for upwards of an hour and a half, dividing his set into two distinct styles and eras that gradually prepared people for the ensuing insanity. Focusing his initial section on obscure funk and new wave and old school hip-hop, he switched gears with the remix to A$AP Ferg's "Shabba," which led to a string of Cryphy-approved tracks by 2 Chainz, French Montana, and Rihanna. Had either set dominated Bill's long slot, it would've worn thin, but the selection worked and made for a worthy transition into the rest of the night's reckless abandon.
Lizzo at Triple Rock, 12/28/13
Photo by Erik Hess

Beatmaker extraordinaire Lazerbeak had a huge hand in making Lizzobangers as massive as it was, and his rare solo set that followed was proof positive. Teaming up with Plain Ole Bill on the boards, in the Lava Bangers style that first caught Lizzo's ear when searching for beats, Beak showcased his MPC virtuosity by pounding out drum patterns over a wide range of his expertly layered instrumental material. Working his way through a variety of material -- including Prof's "Moron," remixes of Big Boi and Big Pun, and various deep cuts -- Beak's fingers gracefully pummeled out bass stomps and snare rolls with accuracy and exacting slap, proving with every tap how powerful a non-verbal producer performance can be.

Just for shits and giggles, Beak slipped into his "Towel Man" rapper persona briefly to bring to everyone's attention his love for marimbas, turning up, and towels, before quickly returning to his regularly scheduled program. Beyond the strength of the big beat-inspired songs themselves, the unbridled enthusiasm and explosion sound effects made the whole presentation one to remember.

Lizzo at Triple Rock, 12/28/13
Photo by Erik Hess

Smoothly transitioning from his own set into Lizzo's, Lazerbeak began to play the lesser-known original "W.E.R.K." by 2% Muck as the night's headliner burst onto stage to huge cheers. With Sophia Eris deftly handling backup vocals, Lazerbeak and Plain Ole Bill remained in the back to complete Lizzo's live ensemble. I've been criticized in the past about seemingly hyperbolic statements about Lizzo, and I'll be the first to admit that Minnesota music writers can exaggerate points about our local scene to make it seem like it stands up to bigger markets.
 

But every time I see Lizzo perform, I come away with so many grandiose statements and gushing praises that stem less from bias than sheer amazement. I defy anyone to come away from a Lizzo concert un-wowed.

She's a natural talent, endowed with rapping and singing chops that rise to new heights thanks to her inventiveness and honed stage presence. Her music is powerful, catchy, bombastic, and raw. Her warmth shines through in lyrics and in stage banter, such as the tears shed when dedicating a song to her best friend and fellow road warrior Sophia Eris (quickly played off with a joke: "hashtag softtweet!").

Lizzo at Triple Rock, 12/28/13
Lizzo at Triple Rock, 12/28/13
Lizzo at Triple Rock, 12/28/13
Photos by Erik Hess

But above all, shit, she's just fun as hell. She manages to put on a rap show that has a broad enough range to capture the ears of fans new to the rap scene while still remaining solidly in the realm of straight, unadulterated grimy hip-hop. Seeing Lazerbeak perform solo earlier drew attention to her additions to his beats, how she shapes them to fit her mold yet lets them breathe when necessary. She flexed on every song and unequivocally owned the room. 


There were a few moments that came out of left-field, like Lizzo proclaiming an already-obvious love of Beyoncé by covering "Flaws & All," which she said was her shower song she sings to pump herself up. P.O.S. stepped onstage to perform "Get Down" because it was her other pump-up song, and the crowd went batshit crazy as they always have whenever I've seen that song live.

She rapped a brand new verse in place of Mictlan's and kept up with the song's ferocity, which is not an easy task. After closing on the powerful "Bloodlines," dedicating it to anyone who has lost someone, she brought out the GRRRL PRTY posse for an encore of their material over TNGHT beats. The ability to switch from heartfelt to fuck-you at the drop of a hat is mighty impressive, and Lizzo's adroitness with a wide range of performance styles is impeccable. Minneapolis' newest rising rap star got to where she is for a reason, and this finale to an all-around successful year could not have been better realized.


Personal Bias: I was already Team Lizzo going in.

Random Notebook Dump: Plain Ole Bill had a lot of fun scratching Big Pun's "Twinz" verse, repeating the "didn't do diddly" alliteration ad nauseam. 

Overheard In The Crowd: Someone in the bathroom was trying to figure out what materials were used to create the graffiti on the ceiling.

The Crowd: Leaned a little older than I was expecting. Lizzo definitely could've filled out a bigger space.

Setlist:

W.E.R.K.
W.E.R.K. Pt. II
Be Still
Make Way
Hot Dish
Lizzie Borden
Go
Flaws & All (Beyoncé cover)
Get Down (with P.O.S.)
Pants vs. Dress
Wat U Mean
Batches and Cookies
Bus Passes and Happy Meals
Faded
Bloodlines

Encore

Night Watch (GRRRL PRTY)
You Don't Want It (GRRRL PRTY)
Wegula (GRRRL PRTY)
No Bagpipes (GRRRL PRTY)

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