Tech N9ne at Myth, 5/10/14

Tech N9ne
Myth, Maplewood
Saturday, May 10, 2014

Last night, Tech N9ne brought a wildly enthusiastic all-ages crowd out to Myth Nighclub for his Independent Grind Tour. Cameras scanned the crowd, perhaps filming for a future DVD release by Strange Music, the independent record label founded by Tech N9ne and Travis O'Guin in 1999. Women flashed their breasts. Juggalos wandered through the crowd, their eyes masked by colored contact lenses and faces coated in paint.

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Slideshow: Tech N9ne turns it up at Myth

The evening started out early with local rapper Absent, who recently sold out the 7th Street Entry for his Welcome 2theClover album release show with Lil' Flip. The place was already quite packed, and the crowd reacted favorably to Absent's easy flow. Psych Ward Druggies took to the stage next, amidst shouts of "Woop woop!" The group's emcees were dressed primarily in orange prison jumpsuits, and their guitarist was wearing hospital scrubs.

The Psych Ward Druggies elevated the energy level in the venue with their enthusiastic performance style. Their use of live musicians rather than backing tracks was captivating and engaging. They moved easily between slower, more insightful tracks and fast-paced dance-inducing club bangers in a display of versatility. The group was formed just last year at the behest of elusive industry jack-of-all-trades figure Dr. Csalohcin. Their philosophy shares a common thread with Juggalo culture in promoting the idea that music is a means of ridding oneself of negative emotions, frustrations, trials and tribulations, and that music is the "prescription" or "medicine" that struggling souls require.

Between sets, lines formed at both doors leading out to the smoking area. Sweaty fans anxiously pushed past one another out into the rain, and echoes of "woop woop" rang through the air. "Did you have a Mom that wouldn't let you touch the volume while you were in the car?" the emcee asked. "Well, touch that volume! Turn it up!" A roar rose from the crowd, and Atlanta native rapper Jarren Benton walked onstage, joined by his DJ Flick James and drummer Alien Boy -- shirtless and adorned with a terrifying clown mask topped by a mop of synthetic orange hair.

Benton opened with the song "Justin Bieber," which features the chorus line "I got hoes on my dick so they call me Justin Bieber!" Flick spun hard hitting trap beats, and Alien Boy pounded on his drum set in support of Benton's aggressive rap flow. Between songs, Benton engaged the crowd in chants insulting his DJ. The trio were obviously having a great time on stage, laughing and joking with one another and keeping the audience involved in their performance and the energy level high.

At one point, Benton paused to look for an audience member who was familiar with his song lyrics. He plucked a girl from the floor to join him onstage. She seemed both terrified and uncontrollably excited, and continued erupting into laughter and covering her face as she rapped along with Benton to the song. By now, Alien had removed his shirt and was standing atop his drum set, violently slamming on the symbols with vigor.

The most dance-friendly song of the set was "Gimme the Loot," (no, it wasn't a Notorious B.I.G. cover, just a borrowed song title) which contained a dubstep inspired beat and throbbing bassline. "Gimme the Loot" is well-suited for radio and dance clubs, and had the audience grinding to its beat.


Benton's backdrop descended, and up went a banner reading "ESGN," in letters reminiscent of the ESPN network's insignia. ESGN stands for Evil Seeds Grow Naturally, the debut album by Freddie Gibbz. ESGN brought a more West Coast gangster rap vibe to the stage. The raps were menacing, and content-wise were focused primarily on slangin' dope and getting high as fuck. The basslines rumbling beneath each track were thunderous.

Between each song, ESGN engaged the audience in a "Fuck police" chant. They continued to ask audience members to give them some weed, hoping to smoke some in a vaporizer they had brought upon stage with him. A random guy who apparently had managed to sneek some pot in with him to the venue was brought up on stage. This guy will most likely relive this moment of glory in his mind for the rest of his stoned existence. His smile never broke as he dances beside ESGN through the song "Kush Cloud," waving a towel madly.

Their interesting cadence and talented delivery were showcased each time the DJ silenced the backing tracks and allowed Gibbz to rap freely, a capella. This was a technique that felt fresh and bold, allowing concertgoers to fully absorb the weight of Gibbz's words without any distraction.

After ESGN's set, lines again formed at the doors to the smoking area. A girl standing up against the wall was receiving some kind of bastardized lapdance from another girl who was holding herself up by handstand with her feet against the wall, shaking her ass in the other girl's face. The receiver of the dance was laughing hysterically, her friends pointing in disbelief as the dancer's ass cheeks bounced out of her tiny white booty shorts. Nearby, a bro was scratching a girl's phone number onto a scrap of paper as she shouted it into his ear. Outside, a girl wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the words, "Don't be trashy, recycle," was talking about the depressing condition of the "lake" behind the venue. A lack of cigarette receptacles was resulting in most cigarettes being thrown into the "lake." Garbage dotted its shores. "The poor ducks are going to eat that garbage," the girl lamented.

Back inside, Tech N9ne was finally joined onstage by longtime collaborator Krizz Kaliko. "I have a feeling that since I'm in the Twin Cities I'mma get high as a motherfucker tonight!" Tech shouted, and the audience went wild. People were pushing one another, rushing the stage. Phones were out, recording. Bodies were lifted into the air, crowdsurfing.

Tech N9ne's rapping style did at times seem impossibly fast. He barely stopped to take a breath between long-winded verses as Kaliko provided supporting vocals. Face painted up Juggalo-style, he strutted the stage in a red jumpsuit, covering subjects ranging from infidelity, murder, getting high, and his own rapping prowess. Tech has stated that he is influenced both by classic hip-hop artists like Biggie Smalls and Public Enemy as well as by artists from other genres, including the Doors, Elton John and Metallica. This wide range of influences was evident in his genre-spanning set.


The tour's stage set-up was very calculated and included a blinding light show reminiscent of Chromeo's strobe and laser display last week at First Avenue. Tech and Kaliko showed off a variety of well-choreographed moves and stage antics. Random objects were thrown through the air, and terrifying clouds of fog shooting from ducts in the ceiling punctuated occasional chorus lines. During "Hard (A Monster Made It)," women started climbing onto other concertgoers shoulders and flashing their breasts at the stage.

During "Midwest Choppers 2," Tech jumped down into the audience to rap. He returned to the stage with a mask in hand, holding it high in the air as he rapped. Security guards were removing excessively drunk fans from the upper balcony. Behind the dance floor, Tech's DJ was mixing his backing tracks with intent.

Tech left the stage for Kaliko to woo the audience with the club-friendly song "Unstable." Kalico's voice was strong and perfectly on pitch. He is obviously an immensely talented and well practiced vocalist. The chorus of "Unstable" is infectious, and was delivered with heart and conviction as the room sang along.

Later on in the set, Tech began encouraging more women to flash him. A "titties" chant began. He blazed through the songs "Titties" and "Areola." Now it made sense why there had been a "Whoa, areola!" chant in the smoking area earlier.

At this point, those at the show who were old enough to drink seemed pretty wasted. Drunk girls were lifting their shirts, screaming. A girl on the balcony in a purple shirt was recognized by Tech for her especially nice breasts. When a girl towards the front told Tech he needed to pay her to see her tits, he responded that she needed to pay him to suck his dick. The mood in the room was veering into misogynist territory. "Thank you to the Twin Cities for showing us their wonderful titties!," Tech exclaimed.

The performance ended after 41(!) tracks with the Tech N9ne salute. Apparently Tech takes charging $25 for concert tickets very seriously. Fans still wanted more, though. Crushed cups littered the floor everywhere and people pushed towards the front to photograph the painting, which was still propped up on stage. A random drunk bro tried to engage a security guard at the smoking door in conversation. The guard hi-fived the bro, then tried futilely to get rid of him. A crowd formed around the merch table.

And everywhere, calls of "WOOP WOOP!"

Personal Bias: I honestly didn't know anything about Tech N9ne going into this show, but I definitely walked out a fan. I genuinely enjoyed the entire show but was especially impressed by A) the live musicians on stage and B) Kaliko's voice -- his singing is so soulful!

The crowd: Totally random. It was an all ages show but that didn't mean there were predominantly young people. It was also a really diverse group of people, more so than any other show I've been to recently.

Random Detail: A man was live painting for Tech and Kaliko's entire performance. After the opening acts joined Tech and Kaliko onstage for a rendition of "I'ma Player," the painting was revealed. "The theme of the painting is Judge Not," said artist Rob Prior. "Judge not. Black or white? Who the fuck cares?" The canvas was covered in a slightly abstract portrayal of Tech N9ne and Kalico, coming to fuse in the center above the Strange Music logo.

Set Lists:

Jarren Benton:
Justin Beiber
Billion Bucks
Half OZ/ 1/4 LB
Cadillacs & Chevys
Alien Boy drum solo
Gimme the Loot
Shut Up Bitch

On Some G Shit
Still Livin'
Still Livin' 2
Kush Cloud
Have U Seen Her
Lay it Down
Eastside Moonwalker

Tech N9ne
Tech Intro
Strange Music Box
Krizz Intro
Like Yeah
Rip Your Heart
Mental Giant
Planet Rock
Who Do I Catch
Midwest Chopper
Midwest Chopper 2
World Wide Choppers
So Dope
Don't Tweet This
Force/Why Me/Haiku/The World
Get Throw
KC Tea/ Carbou Lou
Girls Like That
See Me
Ima Player
Outro music: Not a Saint

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