Mac Lethal's "Keep It Irish Tour" descended upon the Marquis Theater last night and brought a friendly crew of poets and rappers with it. The Midwest rapper obviously harboring a serious grudge against his ex-wife made it a point to note that if anyone at the show wakes up in nine months with a child that was conceived after his set, they would personally receive $300 in Bed Bath & Beyond gift certificates for the baby. "Who says Uncle Mac doesn't take care of you guys?" he offered. Uncle Mac indeed took care of everyone with help from locals JDirty, Input and the hard cut a cappella drops of F. Stokes.
JDirty, the self-described "Scrub Hop" mixtape producer, opened the show rocking a big white tee bearing the internet-famous Antoine Dodson quotation, "Hide Yo Kids, Hide Yo Wife" and rolled through cuts off his newest mixtape, moving incessantly from one side of the stage to the other.
Input played a set that was short, to the point, and worthy of a chant later that was unfortunately overpowered by an even louder "LETHAL" chant. It's hard to say if JDirty and Input's sets seemed so short because they were only twenty minutes each or that the Marquis was not even close to capacity when either of them went on.
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The real treat of the evening came when F. Stokes picked up the mike and shared his thoughts. With no DJ and no one manning his computer/tables/audio, Stokes included some humorous stories about his run-in with Rihanna, some anecdotes on there being only three other black men in the whole venue and even a comment that the only person to challenge him to a dance off was one of them.
Joking aside, the guy ripped the microphone to pieces without any backup. On more than two songs, it was his voice that resonated and held the half packed house at attention, not any beats. And when an artist can tear it up a cappella and garner cheers for his lyrics and delivery, it's a sign that he's heading in the right direction. Odd as it may be that he is on this tour, he is keeping true to his roots and staying true to himself. Stokes hails from Chicago, but calls New York home for now, and in his own words, "it's all a part of the journey."
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Mac Lethal jumped out on stage followed by his DJ, who happened to be turning 21 last night. This celebration prompted multiple requests for whiskey shots (Jameson, to be exact) and beers. "We gonna' burn some calories, we gonna' sweat tonight, get loose, put your fuckin hands up!" Lethal yelled to the crowd before dropping into "Rotten Apple Pie." He followed that with "Calm Down," a classic in the Mac Lethal cannon.
"Makeout Bandit" garnered the birthday boy two make-out sessions with front row girls, which I'm sure the guys standing next to them were totally stoked about. The Miley Cyrus/ICP/Mac Lethal remix of "Party in the USA" ultimately had everyone singing along ("So I put my blunts up/Like fuck the police/Everyday is a Saturday/Pabst Blue Ribbon like yea, Double IPA like yea") and, fittingly, 24-ounce cans of PBR were readily visible throughout the crowd.
Mac rapped "Backward," "Lithium Lips," and "Pound That Beer," before running backstage to close out. But, that wasn't the end. A beat-boxed beat from his DJ laid the foundation for an unnamed new track he hasn't even released yet, which then lead into "Jihad." The "Keep It Irish" tour took the day off today before moving onto Omaha, Nebraska, tomorrow, probably to celebrate a great tour so far and to give the birthday boy a chance to nurse an inevitable hangover.
Critics Notebook: Personal Bias: Mac Lethal shows are always full of side comments, which are a nice break from some who try too hard to push their opinions. Lethal just says what he thinks. By The Way: Did anyone else notice the fog in Denver last night? Random Detail: Some drunk asshole was on stage filming Mac Lethal, who then kicked him off stage with some vengeance. Who gets on stage and tries to film with a phone? Moron.