Sunday Nov. 11th at Mezzanine
Better than: reading Marx
Download: Some Coup TV.
Oakland hip-hop veterans The Coup played an exclusive engagement last night at the Mezzanine in celebration of the SF Weekly’s and GoGame’s scavenger hunt extravaganza.
The Coup, one of the more controversial Bay Area hip hop acts due to their overt communist leanings, delivered a massive set of old classics along with material from their latest record, “ Pick A Bigger Weapon”.
The Coup is known for its politically aggressive stance, but in spite of the serious tone of the group’s content, it was obvious from the moment Boots bolted on stage with his three piece band (bass/drums/guitar), that he was here to jump start a party and not a political rally. Clad in his signature 70’s afro; Boots didn’t waste any time in getting the crowd going by launching right into, “We are the Ones”, an anthemic track that reminds us of some of the best work by Cody Chestnutt. The crowd included everyone from hip-hop backpackers, scavenger hunt nerds and even dancing Burning Man casualties. In spite of the heterogeneity of the crowd, most everyone knew the lyrics to many of the songs and pumped their fists in the air while Boots ran around the stage, dancing and amping up the crowd by letting the musicians let loose; especially the drummer who was straight up bad ass.
Boots deft lyrical delivery ran the gamut from political satire, humor, sexual innuendo to straight up party lyrics. Although Pam the Funkstress was absent from the usual Coup lineup, that did not detract from her fill in, Silk- E, a female dancer/ singer that sung one of her own songs that drew laughter from the crowd because of the lyrics, “BabyLet’sHaveABabyBeforeBushDoSomethin’Crazy”.
Throughout the night, the live band leaned towards a more rock/funk/hip hop approach, a combination that has not always worked well for hip hop artists, one has only to remember the disastrous results of such an experiment with rock that has produced the worst from Mos Def and Saul Williams. The Coup however, did make it work and this was in large part due to a more decidedly funk approach to an otherwise rock formatted group. One onlooker called it “Jimi Hendrix hip- hop “. Although the show was about 150 people deep, (relatively small for the Mezzanine), this just added to the solidarity of the small crowd who at the end of their set clamored to what is obvious: The Coup is one of the most consistent, innovative and relevant hip hop acts the Bay Area has to offer.
-- Oscar Medina
Critics Notebook :
Personal Bias: I usually hate rock/hip hop hybrids but The Coup pulled it off nicely
Random Detail: Scavenger hunt nerds are fun to party with