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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Last Night: Sage Francis

Posted By on Thu, Jun 21, 2007 at 12:17 PM


Better than: going to chuuuuch.

Hip Hop’s gone a long way. If you were at a Black Moon concert in the 90’s, you’d be a fool to think that this music would give sway to small-town nerdy white kids with new ideas. You were barely getting used to the west coast, and Busta Rhymes was the most avant-garde rapper you knew. Over a decade later and G-funk’s played out, Busta’s not even crazy anymore, and dudes from New England and Nova Scotia are headlining the Fillmore.

Rhode Island emcee Sage Francis brought his act to town with the help of a 3-piece band consisting of a guitar player, Anticon affiliate Alias as DJ, and Dilly Dilly, a utility woman playing everything from Casios to violins. Sage’s shtick hasn’t changed much over the past few years. Always coming through with his fiery delivery and humorous antics, Francis rocked the majority of the set wearing an eye patch, or at least trying to, a la Slick Rick. After a few songs of fidgeting with it, he later paid his due respect to the Ruler, quipping, “I gotta give it up to Slick Rick for performing every show with an eye patch. I’ll be lucky to get through the night without falling over something.” The bulk of his set relied on his old underground classics reworked to incorporate recognizable favorites such as The Doors, Beastie Boys, and even Mr. Mister, but his music was often undermined by madcap behavior. This included singing to his left shoe on a mic stand before hawking an immense loogie on it, afterwards using his fingers to play with the spittle. Gross.

Buck 65, a charming lad from the Nova Scotia countryside, wowed the crowd before Sage’s set with a near-broken neck and beats containing some rather cool cowboy swagger, although there was nothing else very Sergio Leonne-esque about the performance. Rocking the most terrible scenester mullet I’ve laid my eyes on, Buck played a charismatic set wearing a neck brace(that definitely was not a prop) as he gleefully threw glitter in the air after songs and before regaling the audience with tales of his childhood with his mom. Apparently she would yell, “Bald-headed Jesus!” whenever he got into trouble. I’d take Buck 65 over Rip Taylor any day.

Dope beats aside, the show began with slam poet Buddy Wakefield, who delivered deep metaphors through speaking with engaging tones, emphasizing just the right syllables. Sure his aim may be true, but I’m beginning to think that anyone can be a slam poet just so long as they can recite their poems while sounding like Malcolm X or some other silver-tongued orator. Wakefield then brought out another poet, Mac Dennis, who Wakefield said was the first black bus driver in New Orleans. The subtle sounds of keys straight out of a southern church organ played as Dennis spoke about the God in all of us and everywhere in between, bringing to mind the sermon of the Reverend Cleofis James. Hallelujah! Afterwards, every audience member was on a mission from God to get the band back together. Or maybe it was just me.

Personal Bias: I’ve seen Sage Francis more times than Paris Hilton’s been to jail.

Random detail: White blond girls with dreads=goofy

By the way: I thought the Bay was famous for its delicious, sweet meeba jeeba. All I could smell was that rat weed. Step your game up, kids.

--Oscar Pascual

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Matt Stroud


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