Live Shots: Das Racist at Ruby Skye

Pub date November 9, 2011

The disgruntled bouncer at Ruby Skye begrudgingly admitted my entry to the Das Racist show on Friday night, only after I managed to flag down the event’s promoter to confirm my legitimacy. It was a telling kick off to an evening riddled with problems on behalf of the club, but I wanted to approach with an open mind.

Leaving my issues with the hyper-vigilant door staff outside, I grabbed an $11 drink at the bar and headed toward the stage to wait for opener Danny Brown. I didn’t need to wait long, as I later learned Das Racist fans would be evacuated from the venue by 10 p.m. to make room for the usual clubutantes.

In his signature skinny jeans and choked-voice delivery, Brown pulled off a riveting set. The Detroit, Mich., rapper asked the audience to “give it up for all the beautiful ladies” before launching into verse after maniacal verse about sex, drugs, and debauchery.

Shortly after Brown stepped off, Das Racist sauntered on stage to soak up a feverish response from fans. The large, intoxicated dude in front of me would go ape throughout the night, knocking people’s drinks over and demanding more than his share of high fives from the group.

Right off the bat, Victor Vazquez (a.k.a. Kool AD) took a dive into the collegiate looking audience. As the microphones began to malfunction, Vazquez appeared to lose interest and spent much of the show seated in various places on stage. Vazquez did, however, manage to yank Hypeman Ashok Kondabolu by the collar of his jumpsuit just as he was about to pounce on some guy for getting too grabby.

Himanshu Suri (a.k.a. Heems) seemed less fazed by Ruby Skye’s sound problems. Suri mimed some air guitar and flashed rock star devil horns at fans between verses. In a hilarious moment of self-parody or unprecedented narcissism, Suri lifted his black Das Racist shirt to reveal yet another Das Racist shirt beneath it.

The group’s many collaborators doubled as stage hands, dipping backstage to find new microphones as others shorted out. The best cameo of the evening goes to the swagger-drenched re-work of Dr. Dre’s “Xplosive” by Boots Riley of the Coup. Newcomer Lakutis performed the absurdly catchy track “Lakutis In Da Haus” from his upcoming EP and re-appeared for Das Racist’s “Rapping 2 U.” Brown and Despot contributed verses on “Power.” Due to sound issues, I couldn’t really tell what Trackademicks was doing, but he was there, too.

Despite the unfortunate setting, fans went totally berserk for Das Racist, shouting along to hits like “Michael Jackson” so enthusiastically that the technical difficulties became nearly inconsequential.