I stepped into the small local venue, The Living Room, unprepared for what my eyes and ears were about to experience from the Anticon collective. While DJ Rafiki warmed up the crowd on the tables, I kicked it with JON?DOE, Sankofa, and Spon before the show, learning from JON that Double Helix weren’t going to be performing as I had expected, and that Anticon were going to be a little late arriving due to poor directions. The 50 or so people in the small club waited in anticipation for the Anticon crew. As my hopes began to dwindle due to the setbacks JON?DOE had informed me of, Sole, the pedestrian, Dose, DJ Mayonnaise, Alias, and the Shapeshifters stepped through the door. Almost immediately, the Shapeshifters got down to business, rallying the crowd close to the stage while the rest of Anticon chilled in the audience enjoying the show.
The crew began with some moving freestyles for Rob One, and then got into their set. Circus AKA “Kid Zelda the Neanderthal” was the most entertaining of the three, busting insane freestyles, dancing like a madman, and rapping over the Zelda video game beat. Some moments of note were him ranting the “We’re not gonna take it” chorus from Twisted Sister, and having his DJ spin back the record so he could get into his “Axl Rose pose.” AWOL One, and radioinactive also came off tight. I’d never really heard much Shapeshifters material before, but I was very impressed and will be looking for more music by them.
Next up would be Anticon. I can not even begin to describe how amazing these 5 men were. Even without two of their major members, Buck 65 and Slug, they tore the house down, not giving a damn that the audience wasn’t very huge. Skater kids, underground backpack heads, and just plain lovers of good music crowded the stage as Anticon began with some impromptu freestyles/poetry. All four cats, the pedestrian, Dose, Sole, and Alias impressed with their very different styles. The collective did this throughout the night, filling in the gaps while DJ Mayonnaise was cutting up records. The most impressive of the crew was Dose. With his towering semi-fro and unique hand gestures, he spit such interesting poetry as “A fetus in a field and me in slacks… what’s the difference?” The audience all stood stunned and impressed at Dose-one’s extremely unique style. Along with these off-the-top a capellas, Anticon dropped some of their well-known tracks as well, showing what a live performance is truly about.
The crowd went crazy as the opening riff of “it’s them” came on, but as the record skipped, Dose showed his live experience, telling the audience “You didn’t hear a thing.” He then proceeded to rip the track, with everyone in the room shouting the song’s line of “HELP!” and mouthing every lyric. The same occured when Alias performed “Divine Dissapointment,” and the rest of Anticon showed some of their jaded views as he began, with Sole saying, “We all know there’s a God, right?” Alias gave a great performance of this track. Throughout, Anticon performed mostly new material, which was all extremely creative while maintaining the Anticon trademark of, “We’re different and we don’t give a fuck.” Sole did some stuff from the non-bootleg Bottle of Humans, and it was still that ‘5’ quality. After their closing number, which I think was titled “The Bigger The Biter The Harder They Fall,” Anticon did a seven-song encore, which was highlighted by Sole’s “Bottle of Humans.” Dose closed the show with his newest track, and then both Anticon and the Shapeshifters handed out free cds, posters, tapes, etc., and not just snippets but whole albums. I caught a copy of Dose’s Hemispheres album.
These down to earth guys showed that you don’t need a huge venue, fireworks, or a giant neon sign reading “ANTICON” to put on a great performance. You just need heart and creativity, which Anticon packs in abundance.
Anticon + Shapeshifters @ The Living Room
Written by C.A.M. (Originally wrote May, 2000)