Noise Pop Show Review: An Evening With Kimya Dawson and Aesop Rock at Great American Music Hall, 2/25/11

by Dakin Hardwick on March 1, 2011

Before things went crazy...

One of the best parts of Noise Pop is when they come up with something especially unique. This collaboration might be one of the most surprising, if you don’t follow either Kimya Dawson or Aesop Rock on Twitter. But if you did, you would know that they’ve been recording together for several months now. To find out what happened at this show, you will have to follow the jump:

This show kicked off with an hour long set from Kimya Dawson. This set was typical Dawson, playing pretty much whatever she felt like, solo acoustic. Her set primarily focused on tracks from Remember That I Love You, which is the record that much of her Juno work was pulled from, plus a healthy dose of brand new material and songs from her children’s record Alphabutt. Her voice was in fine form, and she seemed like she was having the time of her life. She brought a few guests on stage, including Clyde from Your Heart Breaks to add some harmony vocals and electric guitar to a few songs, and a gentleman named Dave provided some fun interpretative dancing in full drag. Even Aesop Rock jumped onstage for a number, as sort of a tease of what was to come.

I have never actually heard Aesop Rock before this show. I knew that he was a rapper, and part of the DefJux crew, but I really didn’t know much of what to expect. What did we get? A fierce, high energy set of genuine hip-hop. Rock might be the best live MC I have ever seen. He never lost energy, you could always make out every lyric, and seriously rocked the joint. His DJ, DJ Big Wiz, made sure that there was absolutely no stopping throughout the gig, and his hype man, Rob Sonic, was a near equal, in terms of both microphone skill and energy. The crowd was totally in sync, mouthing out the lyrics and never stopping from moving. It was a fun dance party! Even during his “new” material that he was testing out onstage, the crowd never stopped.  One highlight from the set was a song called “Pigs,” where Jeremy Fish, who also designed the stage, came out dressed in a pig costume to handle a kazoo solo while Dawson crawled around the stage in a skunk costume.

At this point, I’m going to simply throw this question out to my loyal readers: where should I begin with Aesop Rock? Please leave suggestions in the comments below.

Of course, everyone wants to know about the collaboration. Kimya Dawson came back out to play acoustic guitar, and Rock rapped over her playing. They did a handful of songs with this format. Their voices, Dawson’s childlike alto and Rock’s assertive flow, seemed like they would be polar opposites, but flowed together quite nicely. As a hip hop folk duo, they were great. But, DJ Rob Sonic came back out to finish the set, and we learned that, although they can do the folk duo thing well, Dawson might, secretly, be one very talented rapper. She and Rock traded verses, and it was killer. Sonic even managed to squeeze a flute solo in between verses a few times.

The set closed up with Rock inviting the crowd to take the boxes from the stage that were carefully designed by the kazoo player, Jeremy Fish. It caused the crowd to change from happy dancing people to a near riot. And within about 3 minutes all of the boxes were in somebody’s possession. And so to close the show, Jeremy Fish, Rob Sonic, Clyde from Your Heart Breaks, and dancer Dave all came back on stage to dance to an extended and ridiculously catchy song called “Tits Up.” The dance consisted of nothing more than pretending to squeeze boobs, which is never a bad thing to emulate. The song was so catchy and memorable that people were still doing the “Tits Up” dance on my BART train home.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Gordon Elgart March 2, 2011 at 6:00 am

Inquiring minds want to know: what did these boxes do?

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