Friday, Sept. 5, 2008

How Good Was Last Night's Nas/Talib Kweli Show?

By Evan Rytlewski
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I'll have a more thoughtful review of the show in next week's Shepherd, but I can't resist the opportunity to beam a little bit about last night's Nas/Talib Kweli show. I'm often jaded about local rap concerts—I'm always turned off by the inordinate number of openers, short sets and considerable delays—but last night's show at the Rave was just about perfect. Even the sound was good.

Last time I saw Nas, at Rock The Bells this summer in Chicago, he was fierce and workmanlike, wowing the crowd with a swift 20-minute set. During his much longer, hour-long set last night, however, he really loosened up and worked the crowd. He was much more personable than his reputation suggests, and he covered just about every single in his considerable catalouge.

Like Nas, opener Talib Kweli understands that the secret to the simple, two-man MC/DJ is pacing—both acts keep between-song banter and other timewasters to a minimum, blasting through as many songs as they can cram into a set. Kweli doesn't have the well of hits that Nas does, but his limber, likeable presence kept the crowd eating out of the palm of his hand.

That he performed in a Brewers cap certainly didn't hurt his warm welcome, either.

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