Tuesday, October 2, 2012

My Evening with Lil B (told with bad cell phone pictures and videos)


This is one of the few times in my life I entered a show without not knowing at all what to expect. I mean, of course, it happens you walk into a show and the crowd is a lot younger, or a lot older or a lot more different than the idea you had in your mind. It happens. But I had no idea what to expect when I walked downstairs at the Middle East in Cambridge to see Lil B. I had no real idea of what his demographic may or may not be. This show existed for so long in the theoretical that it was odd that it was finally time to go see Lil B in a an actual building in Cambridge. I felt compelled to go see Lil B because, well, in a way, because he is so strange, because I only felt like he existed on the internet and the rest of the time he is flying around in the clouds on the back of a pink pegasus or something, every day just dropping jewels into his Facebook status updates and occasionally dropping 800 track mix tapes which he pulled out of some leprechaun's golden cauldron and dropped it on us. It was like being invited to actually see Bigfoot and having him and her show up and it wasn't just a dead bear some rednecks were passing off as Bigfoot. He was there in front of us., like for real. Lil B seems to inspire this sort of small, rabid fan base/fascination. So when Pat told me he was coming around, somewhere so close to me, I knew I had to go. And here's the weird part: I was never that enamored with his music exactly, but his personality (or persona) was just amazing to me. I know it is dumb to some people, but for some reason he makes laugh, and makes me feel good in a weird, genuine sort of way. And it was a night where I later figured out I probably needed Lil B right at that moment.

So, where to even start? I'll start with the crowd, I guess. One thing that didn't surprise me: I got there during his opening act and for the life of me I can't remember their name, but they were all young, all seemed to have dropped their first mix tapes, and what came through was like listening to Azealia Banks, they were young and they were having the BEST time. I mean they might not have been exactly my cup of tea but their enthusiasm was infectious. So this was funny though: it was an all ages show (of course) and at the Middle East they have a raised area with a bar where they can easily corral the drinkers and keep the young ones out, that was my destination. But there was definitely a LOT of people on the floor, I don't think it was sold out, but there was also a fair amount of people up in the 21 and over corral but I am pretty sure the non drinkers (under agers) outnumbered us old timers. What was fun, though, is that people were AMPED. This comes as no surprise that Lil B would inspire such enthusiasm, even up with the oldie oldersons  people were singing/rapping along and dancing all night.
Here is the crowd on the floor before he even came on just as an example:
video

I messed up and missed his actual intro, but even when he was announced with a loud siren sound (it sounded like something from a Public Enemy album) and he came out to flashing lights and people went nuts.
This is right after he came out
video

I know exciting stuff. But here's the thing part of the magic of seeing him, at least to me is how his personality translates into his live show. Well, his onstage banter was pretty much straight out of Facebook updates, and here the thing about Lil B, I guess this is where the line is drawn with a lot of people (I mean besides his music) What I liked about him especially seeing him this night, is that his persona does not seem like a put-on. If I found out it was I might be sort of surprised when I shouldn't be, I mean it was cultivated on the internet but who knows. In a strange sort of way, I like his overt positivity and a corny way, I think that it's a good thing to hear, I mean it affected me in s strange way being a cynical 35 year old, but I'd like to think that he was instilling something no matter how strange to the younger kids there. I mean the way he talks would have been and sound corny coming from say a teacher or something like that, but coming from Lil B.  it becomes cool. If that makes any sense.  I think for me I am a sucker for this sort of thing, getting into hugely posh hardcore/straight edge music when I was in my teens and it has affected me ever since. Even being as big of a hater as I can be, there's is still that part of me that enjoys the super corny, super positive vibe put out by some people. I dunno I am just glad it exists and I am glad that young people are hearing it. And this night was no different, he was on fire. He had us yell stuff like, "Yell: I love life!" and "Let's give a shout out to all our brothers and sisters and all the new babies being born" and, of course, talking about being based and how, "We are all on this based journey together." And how his music is supposed to be fun, "We talk about sex a lot. Even if you don't wanna have sex. My music can be sex for your ears." I wish I had recorded or jotted it all down because it was beautiful, really. In a really strange way, it was, maybe I was hormonal but it hit me in the right spot just at the right time.
video
Oh and the music: oddly enough Lil B's music has always been the lesser part of the equation for me. Beyond, again, being funny and all. But it might have just been the live experience, in general, but I did enjoy it more in the live setting. I mean who really knows though? My ears rang for a day after due to all the bass.
video
And then he invited EVERYONE who wanted to either have stuff signed or get a picture with him to come and hang out and come up on stage. Which I am sure the security at the Middle East really loved. At first I was just sort of inching my way to the stage on the floor but changed and went back up through the old person corral where security took pity on us and let through the side. I mean I waited for 45 minutes I don't know how long he was ultimately here. But I thought that was also really cool of him and also indicative of, again, the kind of enthusiasm he garners from his fans. (Confession: being an old person I almost left but was like, "Nah, I need to do this")




Lil B and the crowd waiting to get stuff signed/get pictures with him.


Me and the Based God.
So, I went and got my picture taken and I will reveal here that I got all tongue tied and what came out was, "I love you Based God" which is really embarrassing. And Lil B hugged me and said, "Thanks so much for coming out." It was awesome.

So I dunno, I get it. I understand both sides and I understand not being into him. But there is something so weird and joyful about his whole thing that I am such a sucker for it. And I can't put my finger on exactly why. But there are worse things than reminders to enjoy life the best we can.

-Kevin

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