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Thursday, April 8, 2010

Last Night: RJD2 and Busdriver at the Independent

Posted By on Thu, Apr 8, 2010 at 7:37 AM

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RJD2 performed a drum solo on the beat pads while robo-posturing, and spun the unit around like a ZZ Top guitar.

 After a strong 20 minutes on the decks, a full band took the stage. This is a solid for RJD2, whose work often contains heavy layers of instrumentation--and it turns out he can shred, too. When RJD2 returned to the decks, he juggled beats beneath a trifecta of live keyboards. Damn straight. Why get your beats from a can when you can get them fresh? 


DJs usually aim a little video camera at their turntables to help you get into the action. RJD2 took this a leap further. He had a beatbox painted to look like the videogame board of Donkey Kong, and then basically puppeteered a game. In his left hand, a Mario puppet bounced over the pads, triggering the appropriate Donkey Kong sound effects. In his right hand, a log puppet rolled and rolled and finally took out little Mario. The whole drama played out on screen in glorious 2-D.


If this was "weird rap," I want more of it.

Critic's Notebook 
Personal bias: A smoky club isn't a lot of fun when you're nursing a spring fever with tea and lemon juice.


Random detail: Busdriver covered "Space Oddity," an enjoyable choice for me, since I was playing a Bowie mixtape (yes, cassette) on the ride over. 

By the way: RJD2's set was interrupted by the occasional skip. He excused his vinyl with the proverb, "Skips happen." 
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David MacFadden-Elliott


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