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Show Review: Das Racist @ the Independent

February 3, 2011

[Victor / Das Racist]

I continually show up at shows way too early. After 5+ solid concert going years, I should know about the standard opening DJ set plus 15-30 minutes to let the crowd flesh out. Needless to say, I arrived at the Indy promptly at 8:15 to a mostly empty dance floor. DJ Vin Sol was making a valiant attempt to fill that yawning space with an all-vinyl set featuring vintage salsa and an INOJ track that would be instantly recognizable to anyone who grew up listening to R&B in the early 90’s.

Hottub’s set started with their recently released track dedicated to that most hotly contested of beverages, Four Loko and ended, as usual, in a bit of a ruckus.

After the Four Loko flavored ruckus and before Das Racist took the stage, the crowd turned into something like the Aggro Crag or a monster in a Jim Henson piece, palpitating, twitching and emitting randomized puffs of smoke. The trio self-categorizes as weed rap and their fans had no trouble following suit. Das Racist will never need a fog machine on stage.

Actually, not only will they never need a fog machine, but they probably will also never need any mixers, samplers, backing musicians or mic stands. These guys had one of the most minimal set ups I’ve ever seen – literally just three dudes with three mics, a laptop to play backing tracks and a table full of Tecate cans and water bottles.

Now, in my 5+ years of concert going, I’ve noticed that many musicians will start their set in with a hello, a brief introduction, some light banter and some commentary on the Bay Area. Das Racist’s set started with a three minute rant about a red-headed staffer who 86’d Ashok from Schauplatz on Valencia and Himanshu imploring the crowd to just turn around and go home. No, seriously. Just go home. Shortly thereafter, the instantly recognizable Tribe Called Quest sample from ‘Who’s That? Broooown!’ launched the group into their performance.

I guess unsurprisingly, the group opted to not play ‘Combination Tacobell and Pizza Hut’, the track that arguably launched them into internet thug-dom. However they did perform some of my favorite selections from their repertoire, ‘You Oughta Know’, ‘Rainbow in the Dark’, ‘Rapping 2 U’, ‘Shorty Said’ and ‘Hugo Chavez’. They also led a couple of crowd sing along interludes of Usher’s You Make Me Wanna. The evening ended with a semi-confusing faux encore and what can only be described as an on-stage ham/romp to Tina Turner’s ‘Simply the Best’

If pressed to categorize Das Racist based on last night’s performance, I’d say they land somewhere between Brooklyn semi-sophisticate (hey, they can pronounce Lanvin properly) and your goofy but well-dressed little brother.

More photos.

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