with Gay Witch Abortion and Kitten Forever
7th St. Entry, Minneapolis
Thursday, July 24, 2014
Rap duo MC/VL returned after a three-and-a-half-year hiatus to mark the upcoming departure of Vicious Lee, partner in rhyme of Mighty Clyde. Their old-school leanings and raw energy blew up a packed 7th St. last night, marking a bittersweet night of great performances.
Slideshow: MC/VL pack the Entry
This felt more like a punk show than a rap show, in terms of the bill and audience, but the night proved the rappers could stand to learn a little something from the punks. Kitten Forever delivered a heartfelt shout-out to the headliners, who've shared many bills and tour vans with them over the years, in the midst of pummeling through their modernized Riot Grrrl punk. Members rotated among drums, bass, and telephone receiver microphone, quickly working through a set of energetic and uptempo numbers that set the tone nicely for the night.
The always welcome noise wash of Gay Witch Abortion filled up the tight space afterward, further illustrating the lineup's uniqueness. It's not often you see the group blare through their brand of blistering guitar-and-drum fury preceding a hip-hop outfit. Shawn and Jessie nonchalantly worked through a big-sounding set of feedback, guitar squeals, and towering drum pounds in front of a mesmerized audience.
There was not nearly as much movement as the raucous sound would imply, which is something the punks can learn from the rappers: Sometimes a full show experience requires audience involvement that can be drawn out of them with more specific engagement. The set was enthralling as always, but stood on the brink of a explosive response that never came.
Until, of course, the finale, the triumphant return of the beloved rap duo MC/VL, who transitioned into their set with a few quick rock joints performed on drum and bass, sounding not unlike the band previous. Shouting vocals without amplification, the introductory songs offset the bulk of their set, which quickly became classic two-man microphone juggling with a crackling iPod backdrop. The pair tore through their repertoire, ripping apart Nine Inch Nails and AC/DC samples with a Beastie Boys flavor that seemed to borrow from every era of the group's existence, extending back to the Young Aborigines era on through their college-darling days.[page]
All about a party, the rappers were pouring PBR tallboys all over themselves and others, screaming punchlines with maniacal glee, and bum-rushing the audience during integral moments. The ecstatic crowd cheered and threw up their hands.
There were a few moments of emotion when one of the members would remind people of the finality of this particular reunion. Don't call it a comeback, because they're not coming back; this rare appearance was a one-off celebration, and the audience showed they understood by loudly reciprocating the energy of the performers. It was delightfully loose and chaotic, exactly what you'd hope either a rap or punk show to be, rolled into one solid reflection of both. MC/VL are not necessarily a group often mentioned in the local hip-hop scene writ large, but their presence was important in that it reflected on the days when the genres would intermingle at shows more often.
I can't recall the last time I saw a hybrid rap and rock show like this, even though I feel like it happened more often at one point. It made for a raucous energy that seemed missing from some of the rap or rock shows I've seen lately, encapsulating the best sides of both to produce a performance of unadulterated energy. It's a shame we'll likely not see these guys do their thing again, but hopefully some of those in attendance will take a cue from the group's palpable presence and bring the ruckus more regularly.
Personal Bias: I don't know either member of MC/VL personally so it was less of an emotional night as it seemed for some.
Random Notebook Dump: There were so many spilled tallboys on stage after the set.
The Crowd: Punk kids more so than rap kids.
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