by Black Bubblegum
El-P & Aesop Rock @ Webster Hall - May 10, 2008 (jennyapplebaum )
"WHEN I SAY DEF, YOU SAY JUX! DEF!"
Okay, it wasnt THAT bad, but while fellow Cardboard City crew member Shia Labeouf (seriously) was readying his second appearance on Saturday Night Live (with My Morning Jacket), El-P was realizing he was in trouble by the first song. El-P tore into "Smithereens" with all of the frustration made apparent in the video, but when he commanded the Webster Hall crowd "Get the fuck up!" and "Jump!", he only got participation from a couple dozen.... for 30 seconds. Maybe it's all the darkness and post-apocalyptic doom and gloom, or the borderline paranoid "the government is going to get you" John McCain=Barack Obama=Hillary Clinton rants, or that a good portion of the crowd could have come to see Dizzee Rascal (though doubt it), but Saturday at Webster Hall was probably one of the most stoic crowds that I have ever seen at a hip hop show.
And it wasn't for El-Producto's lack of trying. The Def Jux honcho jumped around like a crazy man, fell to the foor reenacting the "Smithereens" video, and even drew upon witty banter to draw the energy out. But it wasn't coming. And with performer and crowd being such a symbiotic relationship, as the show progressed his hype man got a little less hype-r and I could tell there was less excitement on stage.
Anywho, the set was mostly from last year's awesome I'll Sleep When You're Dead, but spanned his entire career including "Vital Nerve" from Company Flow's classic Funchrusher Plus LP and "We're Famous", his guest appearance on Aesop Rock's Bazooka Tooth. The recent left-coaster (Aesop Rock) was in the house to join him on "We're Famous" as well as "Run The Numbers", as well as Tame One of the legendary underground hip-hop crew Artifacts (for "No Kings"), and the self-anointed Mr "Fucking" Dibbs on the 1's and 2's for the evening.
In the short between-song interludes (the somewhat obligatory check-out-how-ill-my-DJ-is segment), Mr Dibbs laced the crowd with Def Jux bastardized versions of Showbiz & AG's "Soul Clap", Dead Prez's "Hip Hop", and even Rage Against The Machine's "Bulls On Parade" accenting the proceedings with a theremin disguised in a baby head.
Deep Space 9mm
No Kings (with Tame One of Artifacts)
Mr Dibbs Interlude
Up All Night
Mr Dibbs Interlude
The Overly Dramatic Truth
We're Famous (with Aesop Rock)
Run The Numbers (with Aesop Rock)
Drive (with Kidz In The Hall)
Driven Down The Block (El-P Remix with Kidz In The Hall)
Check out El-P's new blog at okayplayer.
In February, El-P confirmed he is at work on a new one.
Shia LaBeouf reppin' Cardboard City, he did it again Saturday night.
More photos from Saturday night's show @ Flickr.