San Francisco resident Aesop Rock came out to the Great American Music Hall for a Noise Pop installment Friday night and gave everyone a taste of what he’s been up to lately: a lot of everything. Recent collaborators like Kimya Dawson and Rob Sonic were present, both with whom Aesop has been working on very different style albums.
The stage was stacked with funky characters painted on cardboard boxes, and accentuated by a blow up totem pole and an air-filled bear with a ‘thug life’ tattoo. That’s kind of how Aesop is, though. Artsy, but not afraid to have fun.
He kicked out familiars like “Coffee”, “None Shall Pass” and even “Pigs” done with the kazoo solo – by Jeremy Fish in a pig costume, the dude who painted all the awesome boxes.
But the show wasn’t strictly focused on him.
Kimya Dawson, a member of The Moldy Peaches and solo artist, has been working on a project with Aesop that’s so new they don’t even have a name. The two struggled to remember the lyrics, but that just made it more exciting. At one point, Aesop whipped out a sheet of reminders, and Kimya admitted she had some lines written on her arm.
Their style is raw, acoustic musings and thought-out ramblings about things like laundry mats, with the machines’ delicate cycle setting being a metaphor for life. And it works. They said their collab album is in the works.
Earlier in the show, Rob Sonic and DJ Big Wiz were out on stage backing up Aesop on his tracks and also trying out some new stuff from their collective group, Hail Mary Mallon. They were retro hip-hop bangers that the crowd ate up, and they gave fresh air to the dense verses Aesop and Rob are so capable of spitting. They, too, will having an album coming out this year.
Eventually, the cardboard stacks were thrown out to the crowd and were gobbled up by those tall or vicious enough to snatch them. Kimya Dawson even rocked a skunk costume at one point.
Aesop has always said he wants his music to be an escape for people, and it seems he wants the same for his shows. A lot of new music was shared, a lot of art was given away, and a lot of good, clean fun flowed the same way.
He just had one question towards the end: “Would you all say you had a good time tonight?”
I’ll take the wave of screams as a ‘yes’.