The Passion of the Weiss

Sometimes I rhyme slow, sometimes I rhyme quick. But most of the time, I don't rhyme.

Monday, February 27, 2006

O Brother Where Art Thou?

No matter where you go in the city of Los Angeles, you will inevitably be confronted with a lengthy line and a list once you get to the front of said line. This is one of the paramount annoyances of living in a city of over 3 million people, a city where no matter where you go your fate is often dictated by some jackass with an earpiece and a clipboard filled with dozens of dog-eared loose leaf notebook pages, a person who you just know was thoroughly taunted on the Junior High School Playground.

Such was the nature of an unfortunate situation that ocurred to me the other night when I tried to attend the Little Brother and Dilated Peoples concert the other night at the House of Blues on the Sunset Strip. A night that will forever have me wishing ill will upon that disreputable and shoddily run establishment.

The evening started off well, when I arrived home to find that Little Brother's label, Atlantic, had sent me a promotional copy of "The Minstrel Show," and a press kit filled with various articles on the North Carolina trio. There are few things in life that make me happier than free music and thanks to my editors at Rap-Up magazine, I was not only getting the CD,but also comped press tickets to see the two rap groups perform.

Accompanying me for the journey was notable blogger, high school basketball teammate and all around raconteur, Nate Jones,
who from having lived around Jews his whole life was also intrigued by the prospect of getting free concert tickets. But when we arrived at the venue, I again realized why I hate traveling to Hollywood.

The location of the House of Blues is a logistical nightmare, smack dab on the middle of the Sunset Strip, where even on a Tuesday night fools were trying to charge $20 to park. Keep in mind, the lot I'm speaking of charged only $8 to park as late as two years ago.

"Fuck that," I screamed ad nauseum, "Drive on."

So drive on, we did, driving and driving well down the Strip until we found an $8 lot that satiated my fiscal neuroses. Walking down the boulevard in freezing cold (like 45 degrees, which in LA is artic steez...I'm jaded...what can I say), we finally came across the ersatz Juke Joint, which was covered in advertisements for the new Ghostface album and people trying to thrust fliers in my face and/or asking me "do you like hip/hop" and trying to get me to buy their album. Not quite.

When we finally figured out where the press check in was, it was already 9:10 and Little Brother was slated to go on at 9:30, which would've been fine if not for the circumstances that perpetually surround life in this inferno.

About 75 people were mobbing the press check in which apparently also doubled as a check in for any guests of the artists, local radio stations and or anyone who apparently had bumped into 9th Wonder once at a mall in Greensville. Yet this clearly did not include the groupies that the two groups were planning to scheme on post-show. These were stashed into Little Brother's massive tour bus (true story...we both saw like 5 groupies chilling opulently inside the bus parked outside HOB). Apparently,that Atlantic deal DID have some major perks.

Lacking any sort of patience, I started ranting loudly about how dis-organized everything was. The line was hardly moving and time was ticking down until Little Brother came on. I debated preaching revolution amongst this roiling mob.

"Don't worry, man. Haven't you ever heard of CPT. They're from the South. They ain't going on till at least 10:00," Nate tried to pacify me. (being a white Jewish kid I cannot make such stereotypical comments about blacks, just Hebrews; luckily Nate is black and thus can).

"Whatever," I fumed. "This is bullshit."

Several other people waiting in line agreed, though they were skeptical of my plans to storm the gates. Finally at 10:00, we heard the strains of Little Brother taking the stage and simultaneously finally made it up to the check-in table where a 40 year old woman dressed like she was 23, held court.

"What's your name?"

I gave her the info and she started flipping manically through a massive sheaf of tattered papers. (natch)

"Sorry. Your name's on the list."

"What do you mean!! Of course, it is. I'm press. Check your press list!"

I'm barely able to contain my anger at this point. The show just started and I'd been waiting out in the cold for nearly an hour.

"We don't have a press list."

"How is that possible?"

"It is. Who hooked you up?"

"What the fuck do you mean who hooked me up? I'm press. I'm covering this concert!"

Then she gets in my face and starts shoving the papers at me, flipping wildly through them. Nate resisted the urge to smack her. From what I could tell neither me nor my editor were on the list.

"Look, check Little Brother's list. They just overnighted me a CD today"

"Sorry. There's nothing. Next!!"

For the next 20 minutes, I tried dealing with other people in a vain attempt to get inside. Nothing. I'm sure that if I made a huge deal about not getting let in and started dropping names, I would've been swiftly ushered in the door. That seems to be the nature of things in Los Angeles. But that isn't my style and besides Little Brother was almost over by the time we left. As for Dilated, they aren't bad per se, but there's only so many times I can hear lyrics about how dope someone's lyrics are. Besides, I saw them about six years ago, but I'd never seen Little Brother and from what others have told me, their live show is something to be seen.

So infinitely frustrated, Nate and I slunk back down Sunset to our cheap lot, cursing the idiocy of the House of Blues and wondering how it's possible that well into the 21st Century, one of the biggest music chains in the country is still relying on a bunch of clip boards with names scrawled messily in different colors. And at that point there was nothing left to do but listen to the Little Brother CD and think about what kind of show I'd missed and slowly but surely plot the deaths of the upper management
of the House of Blues chain. Start running, bitches!


At 11:20 PM, Blogger Ian said...

Yay! I can't wait to get to LA and become ensconced in the music an agent, perhaps!

At 12:20 AM, Blogger Nate said...

The House of Blues is a fine establishment. They managed to even make me a little upset, which is pretty difficult to do.

At 12:22 AM, Blogger Nate said...

The Jews have taught me the value of finding cheap parking and the importance of a law degree...I think I'm going to log on to J Date and find myself a nice Jewish woman, right now! I think I meet all of the criteria.

At 3:05 AM, Blogger Passion of the Weiss said...

No worries Ian, I can introduce you to up six agents I know with the last name Cohen...I'm pretty sure 84 percent of my graduating high school class is working at William Morris, CAA or ICM.

At 4:58 PM, Anonymous Mr.1derful said...

Damn, that's Wackness. I was there & had never seen L.B. (sorry to say) THEY KILLED IT! I was there to see Dilated & it seemed like there were more people there for LB than Dilated. Everyone knew every lyric & thier lil' dance routines were tight. 9th's shit is hiitin' live. 4show. I'm not that into LB, but thier show opened me up to them. But I gotta ask about your lil' shot on Dilated, i've always felt that LB (either pooh or phonte) always talk about themselves & how underated they are, which to me (as to you) gets quite annoying. Am i just hearing the wrong lyrics? what are you feelin' about their rhymes? preach....

At 5:34 PM, Blogger Passion of the Weiss said...

Damn...that's what I figured would happen..As to Little Brother's rhymes, I have to be honest of having never listened to them prior to receiving the Minstrel Show LP. Like you, I had taken the position that I was tired of hearing underground rappers talk about their lack of fame, riches, etc. and had lumped them in with a whole tribe of people who I respect in terms of their abilities, but find their lyrical content a bit trite. A couple friends of mine had hyped up their ability and after Joey at Straight Bangin gave love to LB, I told myself that I had to check them out for myself. i still haven't heard the Listening, but I did really enjoy the Minstrel Show. I thought while the skits get slightly repetitive, I love the idea that they ARE thinking, which is so much more than most other rappers. They tried to project a coherent idea throughout an album, which be it rock or rap I am usually a fan of it (Aesop Rock's Labor Days is prolly my favorite underground album of all time pound for pound, though their can be mistakes see Green Day's America Idiot).

I can definitely see where your coming from, Little Brother does get a bit repetitive talking for instance about how they drive leased cheap cars...I definitely get that vibe, but I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt in terms of their ambition and I think their flows were nice and the beats absurdly good. 9th Wonder does kill it.

As for Dilated, I'm mixed on them. I was a huge Dilated Fan when they first came out with their early stuff like Work the Angles and liked about half the Platform a lot. But I confess to almost never listening to Expansion Team team anymore. It kinda bores me and I haven't heard their last two albums but from what I hear about the latest album it sounds like more of the same. As for their skills, I think Evidence is really good while Rakaa leaves something to be desired. His politcal diatribes always come up half baked to me, like he has some right ideas but lacks the knowledge to not sound like everybody else. I feel you really get two albums to make the same point: see Mobb Deep and Eminem. They were great for two albums but by the third one it got really old for me. I feel artists need to continually break new ground or risk staying stagnant. Unfortunately, Dilated in my humble opinion got a bit too stagnant for my tastes. Thanks for the comments. I'm glad that at least someone got to enjoy the show.

At 1:33 AM, Anonymous Slav said...

You know I gotta come in this convo and drop a line ... you're dead right about Dilated, J. And LB, too, they have that "conscious" vibe or whatever they call it, but talk about their underground struggle too much. Holler at your boy next time you hit up a hip hop show ... Copywrite is coming to Knit Factory soon, you should go see him, I'll be there.

At 12:47 PM, Blogger Passion of the Weiss said...

What up Slav, I was waiting for your entrance into this dialogue and quite frankly was surprised it took you this long, you must be busy at the office..let me know when the copywrite show is I might be done. I also am prolly gonna see Ghostface in March and the Paid Dues Festival March 11

At 8:41 PM, Blogger Kandyd said...

I should be at the Paid Dues show too. Hey ... tomorrow Zion I will be at the Knit Factory.

At 9:11 PM, Blogger Passion of the Weiss said...

Tomorrow is a workday for me...alas you will have to see Zion alone, we should definitely meet up at Paid Dues..


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