Buy this album, except the anti-consumerism song.
  • Buy this album, except the anti-consumerism song.
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis was the first hip hop show I've ever attended. It was almost entirely awesome (an hour forty-five is too long for a set that has two openers; no matter how good you are you're competing against sore feet) but I still was caught off guard by several things that made it different from bands I've seen in the past.

[1] The rapper is walking back and forth and talking, he's climbing on the PA, he's crowd surfing. He's a busy man. But the DJ just has to press space bar on his Mac laptop. So in that "thou dost protest too much" sort of way, when he decides to adjust the gain or play a sound effect or something, he does it with the intensity of the President throwing the nuclear switch. Relax, buddy. We know you're a genius for composing those beats, but playing them, that's something Teddy Ruxspin could do.

[2] It seems silly enough when people wear a t-shirt for the band that's playing, but I saw at least two people who looked like they were going as Macklemore for Halloween. Hair cut, shirt, pants, shoes, everything. Every artist wants fans, but they don't want body doubles. That brushes up against creepy the way drunk guys brush up against teenage girls in a mosh pit.

[3] The bouncy floor at the Crystal is fun when everybody's jumping in unison (and, knowing Portland, a little too fast for the beat). But during an overlong all-ages show, it's a tool for the bored youths to annoy those around them. Yep, you can bounce. It's like the lamest trampoline you've ever been on. Oh, when two of you jump it IS more pronounced. Nice job.

[4] Rappers are the most pandering bunch I've ever seen. All three acts took time out of their busy sets to just yell "Portland!" And people would freak out. "This is the best city in the world." No, it probably isn't. It's a great place to live, but it's no Venice. "If you drive a car, make some noise." Seriously? Do we have to scream next if we like a mixture of oxygen and nitrogen for the breathing? That's some lame excitement building.

[5] I hate scalpers. You're like a combination of ticket fees and those people downtown pretending they're my long lost friend to try to get me to give my credit card to charities that get a tiny portion of my donation. It's especially weird to hear "Anybody have extra tickets?" on the same block as "I've got tickets!" You two should work together! You're like ticket soul mates!

It was also interesting to have Same Love so early in the set. I hope all hip hop shows have a crying break, but it does take away some of the energy you've built. You're going to have to yell the name of the city you're in multiple times to win the crowd back after something like that.