I'm still torn as to whether I should be surprised at how overwhelmingly white the crowd was for last night's show by The Roots at First Avenue. The Roots aren't exactly mainstream hip hop. And the show was sponsored by The Onion and every Minneapolis hipster's best friend, The Current. So I probably shouldn't have been surprised, but both my friend and I couldn't get over it.
I love The Roots. They're one of the bands that stayed with me when I realized that I'd finally seen one too many booties shaking in videos and transformed from a hip hop-loving girl to the elitist hipster music snob that I am today. Maybe it's because they are an actual band. Maybe it's because they're not rapping about clothes or cars or Cristal. Maybe it's because they're just so damn good.
Despite them loving the hip hop, so very many of my fellow Caucasians in the house last night still have little to no rhythm. "Lisa's bad dancing makes my feet sad."
After being very underwhelmed or downright disappointed by the shows I saw in the first half of March, the latter half has pretty much rocked my world. Last night's show was the culmination. The Roots' horn section was a brass band. They had a sousaphone player. A sousaphone player! They came to the stage like they were marching in a parade in New Orleans. ?uestlove led the way, setting the rhythm on a cowbell. The rest of the members of the band were interspersed among the brass band. I saw a tambourine, another cowbell, Black Thought carried a bullhorn. The procession started from the VIP room on First Ave's second floor, went all the way across and came down the steps in front of us before ending on stage.
And it only got better from there. Where else are you going to hear a brass band, a medley (I don't like calling it that, but what else would you call when you do snippets from a bunch of songs in succession?) of old school hip hop covers, Bob Dylan and The Police covers, a male guitarist filling in for Erykah Badu/Jill Scott and doing an awfully good job of it, plus their own original material all from the same band in the same night on one stage? And all while surrounded by poorly dancing white dudes? Yeah, that's what I thought.
I'm hurting from getting home at 1:00 two nights in a row. My hearing certainly has to be suffering. But it was totally worth it.