Kool Keith @ Mad Planet
Dec. 13, 2012
One year on, the excitement, and certainly the unrealistic predictions of insane behavior, seem to have subsided quite a bit. The pre-show hype may have foretold the same sold out crowd and sense of mystery but the feeling in Mad Planet Thursday had little of the nervous energy or exaggerated expectations. Instead of wall to wall people, there was breathing room, but while not at capacity, the club was bustling with people who had just paid $18 to get in and showed no signs of regretting it. The diversity of demographics drawn in by last year’s appearance, a testament to former Ultramagnetic MC and Dr. Octagonecologyst auteur’s lasting appeal with old school hip hop heads, indie-rap beat nerds and weirdoes of every stripe (but a lot of the hippie stripe) alike, largely remained in force, in roughly the same ratio if not the same quantity.
This time around, Thornton was again onstage and ready to within a half hour or so of the posted set time, displaying a punctuality that seemed to catch the audience off guard. Clad in a relatively simple blue Polo and winter hat (no pharaoh headgear or rubber monster masks here), he cut a zigzagging path through his extensive and varied discography, including Black Elvis material and classic Dr. Octagon cuts like “Blue Flowers,” verbally hopping from alter-ego to alter-ego as necessary. These portions of the show, which also included some freestyles, began routinely enough (“Milwaukee in the building!”) but quickly took wonderfully strange left turns into the hallucinogenic and pornographic, which one could thankfully follow every word of thanks to the impeccable sound mixing. Some may have shown up expecting erratic behavior or outrageous costumes, but they got a veteran of 20-plus years doing his thing and doing it well, which is far better. Hopefully these quasi-annual visits become a regular thing.