Better Than: Getting pepper sprayed by police during a previous Boulder Halloween riot.
I think it was Ethan Hawke who I saw in a recent interview talking about the struggles of being white and upper middle class in America. He wasn't being ironic at all, he was just saying how the demographic isn't really seen as being culturally relevant since everyone thinks they have it so easy. A struggling blues musician at a dive bar is authentic, but priviledged white people expressing themselves is generally seen as a lesser art form.
I thought about this a lot at last night's 3Oh!3 sold out Halloween show at the Fox Theater. 3oh!3 is the perfect Boulder group, they are rich white people making music for other rich white people, but I don't see anything wrong with this. They attack the demographic with tremendous gusto by simply being themselves.
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Several things have been written about 3oh!3’s live show on this blog before so I won’t explain too much. The two Boulder rappers put all they had into energetic raps that cross misunderstood, heart broke emo with crunk rap ala Lil John. With several synchronized dances, they got the sold out Fox Theater bouncing and hopping more than any other show I can remember. The dressed up audience was absolutely loving it--flashing the 3oh!3 sign and obeying any command the two goofy dudes put forth.
I could be wrong, but I don't see these guys making it huge outside of Boulder. I envision them coming across as more of a silly live karaoke act instead of a legit group in front of less enthusiastic crowds. But the way they embody and represent Boulder -- which musically has always been more into socially conscious artists angry at whitie or drugged out jam bands trying to find a noodley unity -- is a nice change of pace for the weird little wealthy town.
My favorite songs were the ones that I knew from their MySpace profile, so I clearly did not know much about them going in. As my friend said, every song kind of sounded the same along the lines of “I don’t like you anymore, bitch.” I liked —however — seeing so many people out in enthusiastic support of a local band. The audience seemed made up of people that were casual music listeners, but found this one group to rally around as their own. I think that basically sums up 3oh!3 -- they’re a local band for people who aren’t necessarily into the local music scene. This wasn’t a Born in the Flood or Bela Karoli show where people were discussing Pitchfork and how lucky/sucky the Fray are, this was an all ages audience that just wanted a good time. And when it came to that, 3Oh!3 delivered exactly as promised.
Critic's Notebook Personal Bias: I know Nat (the taller half of 3oh!3) fairly well because he has dated a college friend of mine for a while. The guy is as goofy as he is likeable. Random Detail: While in the bathroom I overheard the following conversation: “So I was trying to protect these two bitches up front, and they pushed me away. Bitches are stupid, man.” --Gene Davis