Home / Concert Reviews / Webster X w/ WC Tank, Sayth, Birong and Conundrum @ Mad Planet
Monday, Aug. 4, 2014

Webster X w/ WC Tank, Sayth, Birong and Conundrum @ Mad Planet

Aug. 3, 2014

webster x
Webster X
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To the trained eye there are plenty of indications that a show is going to disappoint, no matter how much you’d like to see the headliners, and yet a little self-delusion goes a long way. Take this bill for instance: Not only was it scheduled for a Sunday night at the tail end of a local festival, which sometimes have a tendency to spread talent thin, but it was also at Mad Planet, where the staff always seem to be anxiously anticipating a sell-out crowd that never shows up, and featured not two, not three, but four opening acts, most of whom you’ve likely never heard of. That’s cause for concern, sure, but hey, cosmic local rapper Webster X is usually worth a bit of a wait.

While there was still hardly anyone there, things got underway with jammy local trio Conundrum, whose meticulously arranged, largely instrumental jazz-rock fusion is punchy and tight if not especially original, followed by Birong, a one-man act, also from Milwaukee, who sends lo-fi downtempo beats through a pair of practice amps and sings plaintively over the fuzzed-out results. Next up you had Sayth, an Eau Claire artist who’s ostensibly experimental approach to emotionally charged, poetry slam-style hip-hop is more conventional than it cares to let on, and WC Tank, a local pair who trade in a quirky brand of electronic rap that sounds better on record but also has a certain twitchy, post-punk appeal when performed live. By the time they had wrapped up their set though, there was still hardly anyone there.

It’s not that any of the openers were bad per se; in the right context each might have been engaging, but here they were mostly mediocre, and hadn’t accomplished much in the way of hyping up the crowd, slight and soporific as that crowd was (in fact, the between-band DJs, WMSE duo the Wax Addicts, proved far more entertaining). An underwhelming opening act or two should be expected, but after three hours of them, Webster X was starting at something of a disadvantage. Along with his DJ and a few good guest vocalists, however, he was able to salvage, to some degree, a rather dull night of music, most memorably with a sneak preview of the forceful, soon-to-be-released track “Renaissance.” In the end, patience paid off, but not as much as one would hope.