The night started off slowly at Lincoln Theatre on Tuesday, Oct. 4. Greeted by the musical stylings of Insane Clown Posse and a technicolor beach scene emblazoned with the mandate “RELAX,” the pockets of young folk scattered throughout the venue seemed unsure of how to proceed. From the chatter, I gleaned that most knew at least one of the acts was but few knew all three, myself included.
A fairly short, red-headed man with a wholly acceptable beard took the stage in the form of Despot just after 9 p.m. to the crowd’s mild interest. People pushed forward a bit. There were some heads nodding and a few brave souls mouthed lyrics but everyone else was still waiting for the show to start.
I had never seen Despot perform before and I thought he had a good presence on stage. He came across as a little spaced out at times, but his delivery was clean and he was genuinely funny between songs. At one point he set his mic down and attempted to lead the crowd in some light aerobics, which I felt was a refreshing change of pace from the usual hands-in-the-air nonsense. Near the end of his set he announced: “This next song was written in a remote cabin in your state during a schizophrenic freak out. You should be proud!”
Danny Brown was clearly more of a crowd favorite. He and rapper friend/acting hype-man Dopehead (who seemed to be doing his level best to eat the microphone while he was rapping) got those proverbial hands in the air with nonchalant delivery and more bass than the audience knew what to do with. Brown himself was all swinging arms and shrugging shoulders bound up in the best exotic fish Hawaiian shirt I’ve seen in a while. He was obviously enjoying himself, so I had no problem following suit.
Next up: Das Racist. The joke rap/weed rap/whatever rap trio was obviously who everyone was waiting for. Suddenly Lincoln Theatre seemed a lot more crowded. Maybe not Hopscotch crowded, but space was definitely at a premium within spitting distance of the stage.
Heems started off by claiming that they were Skrillex and introducing almost every song as “another dubstep banger.” Their set drew pretty heavily from the group’s first non-mixtape release, Relax, but there were quite a few classics sprinkled in (notably, “You Oughta Know,” “Rapping 2 U,” and “Who’s That? Brooown!”). Lakutis, who had been DJing/cuing music and samples via laptop for all three acts, even took up a mic to perform a song from his own upcoming release.
At one point the audience was asked to throw any old non-smart phones they had onto the stage. Someone actually threw an old flip phone up and Kool A.D. proceeded to call that person’s mother and rap his verse to her in the next song.
Danny Brown and Despot came back out for an all-star rendition of “Power” near the end of the set. Kool A.D. took a few stage dives. Lakutis triggered that air horn sample (you know the one) a few hundred more times. It was a fun set. I caught up with Dapwell after the show for a few minutes in which I told him that Atlanta was a 30-hour flight from Raleigh and he told me about a new auto-tune pedal they’re going to work into the set. I borrowed Heems’ charger when my phone died and he didn’t really mind.