Bek Andersen

You have to forgive an act a bad show or two. Technical difficulties happen, bands get drunk (hi, Pavement, I see you), sometimes you just have an off night. And really, if your favorite band has only played technically perfect shows, odds are your favorite band is a bore. So let me begin this review of Das Racist's hot mess of a show last Friday at Chop Suey by saying I ain't mad at them—cue concerned parent voice—just disappointed.

It was the Brooklyn-based, Seattle-affiliated (via Blue Scholars) crew's second sold-out show here in as many months, but rather than repeating the crazy charge of last month's performance at the Comet or even just running a cool victory lap, Das Racist faltered. They flubbed lines or dropped them entirely; Himanshu Suri outran beats while Victor Vazquez got breathless and let them get away from him. Worse, the music kept dropping out entirely, leaving the MCs to rap a few lines a cappella, the crowd cheering them on, before calling a song off early or starting it over or both: "Rapping 2 U" died, revved back up with a peal of mic feedback, and then died again.

Vazquez and Ashok Kondabolu exchanged funny faces and bemused grins, while Suri wandered the stage or leaned forward, hanging from the rafters, looking puffy-eyed and faded. At one point, Suri responded to the dead air with intense, mantralike repetition, telling the crowd, "It's very complicated it's very complicated it's very complicated it's very complicated." (Actually, it was pretty simple: Someone—the stage was crowded with DR's "Hidmo crew"—kept accidentally unplugging the DJ's power supply.) Vazquez advised, "Go home now. If you're even a little bit tired, go home." (The packed crowd did thin slightly over the course of their set.) The music cut out on "You Can Sell Any-thing," and some boos cropped up amid the cheers. Suri spat out a string of words that sounded like, "allrightallrightwehadsometechnicalproblemsbutwegettingitright-whateverwhateverwhateverwe'llhaveagoodtime."

They did "Hugo Chavez," the music cut out again, and they started over again. The DJ was waving dancers away from his table, looking tense. But they finished the song successfully, and it felt like a small triumph. They had announced an 11-song set earlier, but after only a half dozen, they said, "We got one or two more. We got one song left—we gotta do it." The song was "You Oughta Know," and at least it sounded huge, the bass vibrating the whole place. The song's chorus is a Billy Joel rip, with Suri and Vazquez jabbering nonsense over the lyrics before clearing their throats to end the show with the sneer "Is that all you get for your money?" Brown Johnny Rotten, the '78 Pistols. Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?

They encored with "Rainbow in the Dark"—with the technical difficulties solved, they were able to snatch some success from the show's earlier defeats. We had that good time after all. DR never played their viral hit "Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell" (which they performed as an encore at the Comet, chanting, "You like this song/We hate this song"). The omission seemed to affirm that, for all the difficulty of translating internet fame to real-life success, and stoner-rap insularity to solid crowd-rocking, their novelty phase is over. recommended