Gambino aka Donald Glover gets paid to talk, but he'd better watch what he says at his next high-caliber event: the rapper claimed that all hands were on deck for the Village Voice's South By Southwest show featuring Wu-Tang Clan, but at least three major names were missing from that legendary roster.
Not to bash on the bash: the legendary New York troupe made for one of the biggest names at the Austin festival, headlining music hall and sating hundreds of fans, cheeks rosy from sun, the great North American amateur hour known as St. Patrick's Day and Austin's entire armory of weed. It was Wu-Tang's night, but nothing feels as low as undelivered high expectations.
Yelawolf performed as though it was his, though, as he howled through a satiating set of Southern rap party anthems and laments. The 'bama native gradually worked his way through a knit cap, then his plaid, then his T-shirt to reveal his infamous canvas of tattoos, the script "Heart of Dixie" ironically and prominently featured on his stomach.
"F*ck that bitch," he spewed after sending some heat to the "Abercrombie-wearing" squares that always seem to land The Girl. "I just wanna party," then launching into the "Trunk Muzik 0-60" (Interscope) track of the same name and spitting with the speed that put him on Eminem's Shady Records' map.
And a word of advice, for that new major label future: to borrow from your yearbook, never change, stay the same and keep in touch. He picks up the dude-ish banner that Kid Rock left behind, with all the lightning-fast raw talent of pre-Bieber Luda, those Southern gents that took a good thing and made some money off of it. "Love Is Not Enough," "Daddy's Lambo" and "Good to Go" are enough to get fans laughing and wailing.
After was Fishbone, whose legacy of more than 25 years has caught up with them. Granted, where Yelawolf would throw his hands at the crowd, Angelo Moore would throw his entire person into the crowd, three times, surfing like it was ska's hey-day.
The funk/soul/reggae/rock troupe peaked with "Alcoholic" and "Everyday Sunshine" but with the increasing mania opted for the feel-good tunes than the socially-conscious. The setlist veered toward tracks like "Fat Chicks" and a cover of Sublime's "Date Rape," causing some second-guessing my own credibility in the fact that I knew every word.
One by one, enter the Wu. Starting on schedule (and on schedule, I mean an hour late and around 1 a.m.), U-God stepped out to a sea of Ws, fingers pointing up and a swirling crew of superfans hugging the barriers. Taking a cue from between-set DJs Eclectic Method, Wu-Tang pushed the big numbers, for about two minutes each from there on out.
Missing was RZA (check), Method Man (who's been nurturing his recent solo effort lately) and Raekwon, and I'd like to hear his excuse. But there were hot minutes of all big hits and some small, from "Bring Da Ruckus" to Ghostface's "Winter Warz" to Dr. Dre's "The Next Episode" and "As High As Wu-Tang Get" (with green lighting, natch). "Wu-Tang Clan Ain't Nuthing Ta F*ck Wit" got its spare minutes, sending the stoned crowd into an elbowing frenzy before the horn sample sounded and Cappadonna came in with something that wasn't as fun.
What was fun was a cameo from Erykah Badu (who was on hand to DJ the after-hours), as she aided on "Chechez la Ghost."
Wu-Tang's appearance overall wasn't the "Triumph" that they sent everyone home on: they sounded like business and less like pleasure, perhaps fueled by the predilection that all nine weren't on hand. But they said hi to Method with "Method Man" tipped their hats to Nate Dogg and to the late Ol Dirty Bastard with "Shimmy Ya." They did the hits, which showfolk like Duran Duran (from Wednesday) have taught themselves to do: that repertoire, plus the given rapport with their die-hards, ain't nothing to f*ck with.