Talib Kweli @ the Gothic Theatre - Reverb - Reverb

Talib Kweli @ the Gothic Theatre

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People didn’t mind waiting, often in unusual weather, to catch Talib Kewli at the Gothic.

While waiting in line to get into the sold-out Talib Kweli show at the Gothic Theatre on Friday I saw the first of two surprising events — a thunder and lightening snow storm. Who even knew that was possible? It was a true testament to Kweli’s draw that people waited for up to an hour in that sort of cold to get inside.

Once you did make it in, the Gothic was packed with a motley crew of half-baked, half energized people. And all of the fans waited yet again, because Kweli took at least an hour, if not more, to take the stage after opener DJ Stupac left it. During that time there were several half-hearted chants of “Talib, Talib” from small pockets of people, but the effort was never picked up by the whole crowd. And that’s where the second surprising event happened.

When Kweli finally took the stage, it was like somebody hit the “on” switch in the crowd. As he moved around, shouting instructions to different sections, you could see the excitement build. The same people that looked completely bored moments before were suddenly throwing their hands in the air, screaming when told and dancing to Kweli’s rhymes.

Kweli is a hip-hop artist true to the form of hip-hop. His lyrics aren’t about bling and booties and all that. He actually has a message, which is part of why he has such a rabid following. Unfortunately, the songs that sound so good on his CDs don’t quite come across the same live. Quite often you have a hard time understanding him because the sheer number of words in a line is so high he tends to leave some out or rush past them in a sort of mumble.

But Kweli is also a charismatic performer, putting a ton of energy into his shows. His fans are familiar enough with his music that the lyrical delivery didn’t seem to ruin the beats for them. After all, they were there to see Kweli entertain and he didn’t have to deliver the music perfectly to do just that.

For more of Reverb contributor Tiffany Child’s music writing, check out her blog Wayward Panties.

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