by Noel Black
Who'da thunk 32 Bleu was gonna be packing the house for hip-hop acts at 25 bucks a pop? Such was the case last week when Del the Funky Homosapien and entourage had the shoulder-to-shoulder crowd waving ye olde hands in the air like they actually cared quite deeply. Downtown's newest live music venue hadn't seen that many perspiring peeps since opening night when Tre Hardson from the Pharcyde joined Michael Franti and Spearhead on the virgin stage in front of a capacity crowd.
And don't think owners Jamie and Jason Spears haven't noticed. And don't think fans aren't being rewarded for their patronage.
This Saturday, for example, Kool Keith -- the king of kookarific concept hip-hop -- will be bringing his incredibly strange brain to the stage.
Best known for his short-lived persona Dr. Octagon, the Oakland-based Keith has long been a favorite in the underground for his ability to string the most improbably disparate, scatological and sex-obsessed lyrics together with abstract flows and rhymes that always manage to stave off pure disassociation. Just to give you an example from the inimitable "Earth People" on the Dr. Octagon album:
"Supersonic bionic robot voodoo power/ Equator X my chance to flex skills on AMPEX/ With power noodles and heaters engage anti-freeze/ octagon oxygen aluminum intoxicants/ More ways to blow blood cells in your face/ react with four bombs and six fire missiles/ all with seven rounds of space doo-doo pistols ..."
Not unsurprisingly, Kool Keith is alleged to have spent a few nights in the quack house.
Like most mentally aberrant geniuses, Keith is also seldom satisfied with the schtick of his own ideas for long. After the relatively huge success of Dr. Octagon, Keith assumed the persona Dr. Doom and immediately killed off Octagon at the beginning of his next album First Come, First Served. A former member of the Ultramagnetic MCs, Keith has also appeared as Black Elvis, Poppa Large and Rhythm X, and recently cameoed on Princess Superstar's album Princess Superstar Is... in a tawdry duet.
According to Jason Spears, Keith has ordered up 50 zip-lock bags to contain: a chicken wing, a juice box and a wet wipe for his performance. So bring your appetite and your hair helmet. You can't tell him he's not in space.