By Meredith Whye, Contributor
“We’re Sold Out. Seriously.” The sign on the front door of the Waiting Room on March 6 was very serious for a reason. The approximately 250 capacity, all-ages venue was packed with people from the stage to the bar. The reason the show sold out was clear- San Francisco rapper Aesop Rock was finally in Omaha. Along with rapper Busdriver, Aesop brought Rob Sonic and DJ Big Wiz, who make up the group Hail Mary Mallon.
The desire for Aesop Rock to visit Omaha has been huge. A Facebook group “Bring Aesop Rock to Omaha,” which started over a year ago, has actively been talking about bringing the rapper to the Metro.
Aesop Rock is popular underground rapper who recently released his album “Skelethon” and has been touring the country to promote it. He is also promoting his group Hail Mary Mallon’s release “Are You Going To Eat That?”
The show started off with Aesop’s opening act, Busdriver. The rapper, whose real name is Regan Farquhar, is from Los Angeles. He also recently released the EP “Arguments With Dreams.”
Busdriver took the crowd on a ride with his one-man show of quick raps and funky beats. He created his beats during the show from a stand on the stage while simultaneously rapping. He rapped over classical piano songs turned into beats and even a song including a flute sample. Busdriver incorporated many trippy visuals on the video screen behind him, including images of the audience. He interacted with the audience throughout his set, calling out people who were not clapping along and making jokes.
A lot of his songs were comical, such as his song “Unemployed Black Astronaut” which had the chorus of “I am the first black astronaut to walk the bare moon.” He took many artistic risks in his music, including doing a whole song a cappella and free styling. After telling the crowd that Omaha isn’t the kind of place that would appreciate freestyle, he launched into rapid and hilarious rap about performing in Omaha. He was a very animated and engaging performer to watch. He ended his set by advising the audience, “..if you really want to piss off your parents, show interest in the arts.”
After Busdriver finished, Aesop and crew quickly set up. They played a very long set over an hour-and-a-half. They performed many songs from Hail Mary Mallon’s album, Aesop’s new album and several older songs from Aesop’s albums “None Shall Pass” and his first major label CD, “Float.” They also performed a couple of songs from Rob Sonic’s soon-to-be-released album, “Alice in Thunderdome.”
While Rob Sonic and Aesop Rock rapped, DJ Big Whiz spun behind them. Behind all of them were videos of animated drawings, street views and the different songs’ music videos. All of the performers wore basic clothes, no costumes, except for Sonic’s headband which made his hair stand upright. The music sounded superb on the Waiting Room’s new amped-up sound system.
Halfway through their set, Aesop started telling a story about his hair. This led into him producing a list of people who volunteered to have their hair cut during the show. Sonic chose one name at random, and while they were performing the song “Racing Stripes,” Busdriver cut the chosen person’s hair. The boy who was chosen left the stage with what was left of his hair cut in circles on the back of his head.
Aesop played some of his older songs, but only segments of them. He also featured a solo DJ song, of just DJ Big Whiz playing for a couple of minutes. At the end of the show, Aesop asked the crowd if he should end the show then or play older songs–the crowd roared for more. Aesop ended the show with the song “Pigs” from “None Shall Pass.”
To purchase Aesop’s albums visit aesoprock.com
Busdriver’s albums are available on busdriverse.com.
Hail Mary Mallon is available at rhymesayers.com/hailmarymallon.