The Das Racist performance in Emerson Suites on Sept. 15 brought me back to the frustrations I experienced after my first Godard film. Similar to the feeling I get from the new wave director’s movies, just when I started to enjoy and feel included in the bizarre inside joke of the concert, the show ended faster than I could say “post-modern.”
Arriving late to the venue, the crowd was forced to eat its vegetables with the rap-stylings of the opening act, local rapper Captain Cee. He struggled to win over the audience: The influx of hypemen and photographers, his ambiguous yet goofy t-shirt splayed with the word “healthy” — even his ploy for a sky full of lighters got shut down by minimal participation (as well as the cops). Frankly, I’d seen better performers at Bat Mitzvahs. Much better.
When the boys we had been waiting for casually sauntered on stage, the trio from Queens reminded us of their essential voice in the modern music industry. Opening with “Who’s That Brown?” — a crowd pleaser — the audience gradually felt out the slightly off environment of band members Victor “Kool A.D.” Vazquez, Himanshu “Heems” Suri, and hypeman Ashok “Dapwell” Kondabolu’s performance..
There was constantly something a little confusing happening on stage. The hype methods worked, but no one really knew what devil horns and the chanting of “slayer” had to do with the show. Amidst the mosh pit you could get a glimpse of the coffee pot bubbling on stage. Even while the audience joined in on their favorite references in the closer “Rainbow in the Dark,” you couldn’t help but wonder what was with the fish on the big screen.
And as the audience reveled and roared to the nonsensical silliness of the band’s performance, the band up and left, masked by a technical glitch.
Despite the cheers of encouraging fans, Das Racist refrained from performing further, no matter how many chants for “Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell.”
It’s true, sprinting through a 40-minute set could have left the band out of steam; Dapwell’s peculiar head twirling amongst other strange physical convulsions certainly made the boys seem out of it, so to speak. But I suspect the new-age trio consciously avoided the tune, perhaps sick of indulging mainstream cravings for a song they wrote as a joke. And it is not a coincidence that they happened to disappear at 10 p.m. on the dot. I say down a cup of coffee, get off your unconventional high horse and give us the show we paid $11 for … with an encore.
– Mimi Reynolds