The Fineline as a venue was nothing short of amazing for an intimate hip-hop show, with a very ‘live’ crowd and even more amped performers. Impressively done, I say. Go see these acts.
I heard about El-P at the fineline about a month ago and right away I knew I needed tickets. The Fineline is, in looks, similar inside to First Ave, but a mite smaller. The best part, I got to see some really great performers for $17.50, however drinks were not cheap. The show was Amazing, here’s how it went…
Despot: Was a highlight act of the night, and was the opener? Surprise, this guy was on point. Despot came on in great fashion. His message was upbeat and he came on as very comedic, and crowd oriented. He even managed to incorporate some aerobic into his set, getting the crowd involved with some Despot (Simon) Says action. The pace of the show was set early on, and only built from Despot. Despot’s DJ resembled MF Doom in appearance and did a very good job of keeping the beats solid and crisp. I had heard of Despot by name, but I had not heard any of his music, not surprisingly because he has yet to release an album, which I now highly anticipate. Expressing that he might release an album soon, or possibly never, jokingly. Let’s hope he does. Despot came across as energetic, lyrically mastered, and was really cool to chat with after the show. He also sold some pretty “genius” merch, which he designed and touted on stage. This guy has charisma and a lyricists appeal.
The crowd at this time was great, but intensified nearing the main stage for the main acts. I found a spot left of center, right where the artists walked on. This was a great spot. I highly recommend this location at a show. Constant high-fives from your favorite artists. I was not too crowded out, only a little by some other individuals in search of my awesome spot, a few beautiful women in fine attire, and some hip-hop heads talking hip-hop. Go figure. I was there to enjoy the show, and did so effortlessly.
At this time an act came on of which I had never heard before (Mr. Mothafuckin’ eXquire) and brought the energy up a notch. Mr. Mothafuckin’ eXquire came out, one wearing a ski-mask and the other dressed like a G, looking hard and sounding hard. There beats were banging’. I think at one time someone’s hat got snatched, thrown on stage and adorned by Mr. Mothafuckin’ eXquire himself. The crowd got even more amped and the performers fed off this accordingly. By the time Mr. Mothafuckin’ eXquire got off I was completely and utterly ready to see El-P. I was ecstatic, and moderately buzzed from some beers. Killer Mike was up next.
This is right before Killer Mike gets on stage-I think I see El-P standing to my left, right next to Aaron and the crowd is going nuts. Again, I am close enough to one of my favorite artists to realize how incredible the Minneapolis music scene is. There is a lot of closeness in the hip-hop world up here. Grateful for the many supporters and artists in the locale. Maybe, if you get the chance, come up and take in the surroundings as much as you can. Even if you miss something you will still get an eyeful. This city is extensively invested and immersed in the local music scene. Its a cycle of good acts.
Killer Mike is huge and on top of his game. His message was positive and his music was produced amazingly (his new album mostly by El-P), his lyrics were well put together and made me want to party. The crowd got super rowdy for his set. Believe in your dreams and anything can happen, were the main ideas of his send off. I was inspired. Killer Mike killed the set and really got everyone warmed up for El-P.
Finally, El-P, what can I say? I am a huge fan, I love his music, he is a production virtuoso and his lyrics make me wish I could write music of such a caliber. I at the very least envy his delivery, with confidence and conviction, and approach to mind expanding ideas. Dude tells it how it is. This is the first El-P show I have been to and I was not disappointed. He gave 110% and kept the crowd happy.
El-P is solid on his game, doing what he loves and it shows. His attitude was business and party, he was a crowd pleaser from word one on the mic. Slug came on stage brandishing a stuffed animal (Killum*) from the Full Retard video, which was pretty sweet. Before he did his set he came on stage numerous times and pumped up the crowd, most of the time carrying a bottle of Grey Goose. A preview of what was to come, you might say. The crowd was out of control when El-Producto jumped on stage. He claimed he was doing Cancer4 Cure in its entirety from front to back, and he made it happen. By the time he did songs from Fantastic Damage I was completely sated. The show was great, if you didn’t get a ticket and you are an El-P fan you missed a very impressive show.
After the show at Pizza Luce, we noticed we left our credit cards at the bar and had to go back and pick them up. We got inside and pretty much were able to chat with all of the acts, I even got into a one on one conversation with Tony Bones about hip-hop in Minneapolis, about Prof and other musically inclined people from South (MPLS). Got to see El-P again, running around with the stuffed animal (Killum*), saw him run down the street towards downtown and then we left.
Hands down this was one of my favorite shows. For price and venue, it couldn’t have been better. The crowd (full of a lot of local celebs) was great and all of the artists put on a top tier show with little to zero snags throughout. Check them out if you can. If I could have had one more thing I would have asked that Slug do a song with El-P, but the show was excellent sans. I approve of the Fineline for any show, this was some great stuff. If you get the chance to catch these acts, do so, you will not regret it. Tell your friends.
Photos by Terry Scott
*Thanks Aaron for the correction on the name. (“El-P(‘s) stuffed animal is the Killum, not a muppet bro.”)