Concert review: Chiddy Bang (with Farout and DJ Mahf) flows through the Old Rock House, Thursday, August 9
Artistically, Chiddy Bang (comprised of Chidera Anamege and producer/percussionist Noah Beresin) sample a vast array of modern pop and indie rock, from Sufjan Stevens to MGMT to Yelle. Chiddy’s flows are ice cold, full of hooks and an affirming we-can-get-through-anything mentality.
Farout opened with a cameraman on stage documenting the set. Farout’s rapping fit perfectly into the group of white, Middle-America rappers, conjuring Slug and Yoni Wolf. With a lucid piano sample, “Skipping” took on the station of a CD skipping and featured references to all of Farout’s contemporaries and self-deprecation about balding. DJ Mahf “scratched it off” to end the show. After the set, Farout’s cameraman filmed the rapper performing a planned stage dive followed by a barrage of smile-tapped high-fives.
Behind Chiddy Bang, a mock cereal-aisle wall punned product names (Chiddios, Frosty Loops, Mini Beats, etc.) in support of the group’s 2012 record, “Breakfast.” “Never” opened the set with a falsetto backing track and fat drum and bass. Anamege yelled, “hands up, hands up” over the chorus. Anamege’s hype man wore an “ALIFE” shirt and swung a white towel, providing backing support during the choruses. Beresin kicked off “Baby Roulette” with dry clicks before the sample (featuring Patrick Monahan of Train) dropped. Digital, Nintendo sounds fueled the verse as Anamege rapped about meeting new girls, tossing the numbers of old ones.
“Heatwave,” which usually features Mac Miller, found Anamege performing all the vocal duties. The song certainly benefitted from the lack of Mac Miller. Chiddy kept it real. During the chorus, as on most of their songs, Anamege shouted, “Hands up,” and though a nice energy-generating tool, it drowned out the sample, causing disconnect. Sad, but this seems to be the order of the day at modern rap shows.
A guy named “Cheese Burger” came on stage and collected freestyle topics from the audience for Anamege’s raps. The crowd offered, “The Olympics, America, basket weaving and Taco Bell.” As disparate as this list was, Chiddy did a nice job melding the “Hooray for America” sentiment with his uncompromising style.
“Mind Your Manners” featured a sample from Icona Pop. The crowd loved the it. During “I Can’t Stop,” I was distracted by a lame fight that almost broke out between two drunk, seeming high-school guys. One challenged, “If you fucking come near me, I’ll crush you.” No fight occurred and both decided it was a better idea to take another drink, enjoy Chiddy and make out with their girlfriends or whoever. It was a dark moment oddly incongruent with the show’s message, making me wonder how many of Chiddy’s fans actually listen to the lyrics.
“Talking to Myself,” my favorite song off the new record, was performed with deft attitude and class. The crowd simmered and the venue rocked along with Bluey Robinson’s Bon Iver-esque sample. “Ray Charles” was slightly offensive with too many references to the legend’s blindness. “Trust” was an excellent throwback that reminded the audience of Chiddy Bang’s artistic roots and gave insight on where Anamege and Beresin are headed. They then took on Big Sean’s track, “High,” featuring Anamege. Again, Anamege owned the song as if it were a Chiddy Bang original. “Opposite of Adults” closed the show.
After a short break, Chiddy Bang encored with “Handclaps and Guitars.” The sample was crisp and brought the crowd to life once more with references to White Widow weed and the vocal sentiment, “I’m just trying to party.” The audience obliged.
Chiddy Bang brought a true celebration to the Old Rock House. The infectious feeling lasted beyond the show, seeping out with the throng of young fans as they headed into the St. Louis night.