I’ve been a fan of both of these artists for a long time, so the opportunity to see them together seemed mind-blowing. And it was.
1. They opened together with “Delicate Cycle.” After the song I yelled “Thank you”, to which Aesop responded my breaking into a grin and telling me that my mustache was “fantastic.”
[side note: for the record, there was a ton of crowd interaction. I’m normally not one of those people who yells things out, but I have at least one more story involving me doing just that.]
2. To continue that thought, Kimya (who took the first solo set), will ask people in the crowd to repeat themselves if she didn’t catch what they were yelling, and then respond. It was through this means that I was able to apologize and ask if it was rude that I yelled out for her to play “The Beer.”
3. Apparently it wasn’t rude, and she did in fact jump right into “The Beer.” which was so perfect that I wonder if she had planned to play it anyways.
4. She immediately followed that by telling us that she hadn’t drank in 12 years, which I was unaware of when I yelled for her to play her most alcoholic song.
5. She is a sweetheart onstage, laughing at herself for messing up words on a couple occasions, grinning at every individual person who yelled “I love you” or “You’re awesome.” After seeing her live and meeting her, I can say that I genuinely do love her and she absolutely is awesome.
6. Thankfully, “Loose Lips” (which had been a live favorite years before the movie) was the only song she played from Juno. I’m pretty sure most of the Kimya-crowd felt like the people at Nirvana’s Unplugged show who came to hear “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”
7. I forgot to mention that it was an all ages show, so most of Kimya’s fans were there as a direct result of that movie and subsequently could not have told me who Adam Green is. Or where the crack is.
8. I just realized something: despite the fact that she is releasing a new album in October (Thunder Thighs), most of here set was from ‘04-‘05. She also stayed true to their agreement and didn’t play any Moldy Peaches songs.
9. Kimya ended her set with a new one, the anthemic “Looking Out The Windshield.” If you’re a Kimya fan and haven’t heard this track yet (or any of their collaborations), go listen to their Daytrotter Session (right now).
10. I’ve said it before but I think it bears repeating: Aesop Rock is undoubtedly one the best live acts around, in any style of music.
11. Surprisingly enough, he opened with “Catacomb Kids.” Ultimately, the majority of the set was split with None Shall Pass and new Hail Mary Mallon material. Luckily, Aesop has managed to (somehow) improve (or at least progress) with every album, so the lack of back-catalogue wasn’t dissapointing.
12. That being said, he did play “Big Bang,” which, needless to say, was fucking awesome. He also played “Daylight,” all the while interspersing couplets from “Nightlight” at random.
[side note: After playing “Breakdance Beach,” Aesop told us that, after playing the song for DJ Abilities, Abilities told him that it sounded like a Missy Elliott track. Apparently, it wasn’t a joke, that was his honest opinion.]
13. When he’s onstage with Kimya he seems calm and contemplative, often rapping with his eyes closed. When he is up doing solo stuff, he gets really intense, going wide-eyed and making hand gestures to go with the lyrics.
14. In either setting he often holds his arm behind his back (like this - Thanks Wikipedia), a habit that Rob Sonic has apparently picked up as well.
15. To put it as simply as possible, Rob Sonic is good live and, in the end, will prove to be a great counterpart for Aesop.
16. But as far as counterparts go, no one is more perfect than Kimya, who put down her guitar and rapped back and forth with Aesop for the closer, “Bats.”
[side note: When Kimya returned to stage, Aesop commented, “That’s a sassy walk. She just comes up drinking tea like she doesn’t give a fuck,” which made Kimya lose it]
17. Earlier in the night, before their duet “Walk Like Thunder,” Kimya mentioned that it was the second song they had written together for dead friends. The closer “Bats” was the first, written in memory of Eyedea. It was only while Aesop was explaining this to us that I remembered how much of a sensitive and sad person his persona truly masks.
18. The song itself is incredible, with each taking 3 verses back and forth. Kimya raps (even throwing in a pun on Eyedea & Abilities’ names) and proves why she is the only person who could have conceivably pulled off such a collaboration with Aesop. Aesop himself is at his most cryptic, saying everything except the point directly. I can’t wait to hear the recorded version.
19. Everyone came out an hung out after the show;
a. Kimya was kind, friendly and thankful for every person that came to talk. Apparently she is still friends with Adam Green but seriously doubts another Moldy Peaches album for now.
b. DJ Big Wiz is a genuinely cool guy who spoke intelligently about copyright laws and the age of digital music. Within this he ranted about fans who openly admitted to downloading the album, as if he would be proud that people wanted to hear it that bad. Summary: He is happy that you want to hear his music, but please don’t fucking steal from him.
c. Rob Sonic just slaps hands and nods.
d. Aesop Rock is the shit. He signed everything, thanked everyone and stood for a picture with every last goddamn kid with an iphone. He also stayed until the venue had to kick the last of us out. At first he asked to buy my marker off me, which I (obviously) laughed at and gave to him (after he signed my copy of The Lonely Human Curiosity Sideshow, which he was surprisingly thrilled to see). He was extremely appreciative when I tried to tell him what his writing meant to me and, in the end, gave me a hug and encouraged me to ask for an interview with him the next time we were in the same city. Also, when asked if he would ever play Music For Earthworms or Appleseed stuff live, he said, quite simply, “I just don’t have the beats,” which is a shame.
20. Everyone in the crowd was in a great mood and we all took turns buying shots for strangers, which resulted in me getting absolutely hammered. I only make this the last note to tease you into questioning everything you just read.
Summit Music Hall, Denver. 8.21.11
Z. Saint James