Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Handsome Boy Modeling School, Buck 65

Earn Your Inches
Showbox, Seattle, WA

It is widely known that the Maritimes (you know, all those little islands in Eastern Canada) manufactures crazy people. But they are the most disarming, sincere, and sweet crazy people you'll ever meet. Ashley MacIsaac was like that, and so is Buck 65.

This dude has been working at his music for ten years, but audiences in the U.S. learned about him like ten minutes ago. The effect of his experience on new ears is interesting. When he raps about all these stories of life on the road and his past music, you sometimes feel like an ignoramus for not knowing who the guy is, and other times feel like you've been given this very special, belated gift. Richard's banter is weird and compelling; the audience here doesn't quite know what to make of him at first, but by the end he has everyone under his thumb and knows it. With song intros like, "That was a good day. That was a day that ruined my life," you have to love the guy.

I imagine it's both frustrating and comforting to perform an entire show to pre-recorded music. There is no variation in tempo or sequence, which lets you know that it will pretty much take a miracle for something unexpected to happen. However, it makes the audience focus specifically on the performer. We listen more closely to the stories because we don't have to keep checking out the hot bass player (though, HBMS is an exception to this rule).

During the break I create a game to better judge the caliber of the audience. Points are given for ear-stretching bolts, visible tattoos, fancy eyeglass frames, blazers, and good shoes. Points are taken away for hoodies, tractor hats, ripped t-shirts, bad smells, and trying too hard. The game is to find as many credits and demerits as possible on one body for a total of zero. Only one guy fits the bill.

Handsome Boy Modeling School is Prince Paul and Dan the Automator, with a rotating series of session players and guest performers. Tonight we are graced with Casual from the Hieroglyphics, Josh Hayden, and Nathaniel Merriweather. Dan and Paul make up for their own pre-recorded soundtrack with cartoon characters on the screen doing vocals, a cute band, and a great shtick between songs that turns out to be more fun than the songs themselves. Aside from spinning here and there, Paul and Dan mostly walk around the stage holding cocktails and encouraging the actual band members. They put the M and the C into MC.

The audience is way into HBMS's set for the first 20 minutes, then they get wind of the formula and drift. After about a half hour we notice people leaving. Chip and I make it all they way to the catwalk competition, but decide to go when they descend to the realms of boob humor. The show is exactly what we expect it to be; with the substance on tape and the filler on stage, how can it not?


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