Nacho Picasso at Neumos – Live Review


Neumos as the setting for a breakthrough show is not unheard of – the first Shabazz Palaces performance took place at the Capitol Hill venue regularly associated with indie shows for local as well as national touring acts. Tonight may have bear witness to something similar. Yes, in many ways comparing Nacho Picasso to Shabazz Palaces is inaccurate, even blasphemous. The two artists are not similar, with approaches to the same genre of music that stand in stark contrast to one another. In one corner is Ishmael Butler and his revolutionary vision for hip hop as the ultimate expression of and tool for black empowerment. In the other is Nacho, Seattle’s own oddball stoner with punchlines ranging from comic book puns to Full House references, all accompanied by bombastic mainstream-ready beats from Seattle by way of San Francisco production duo Blue Sky Black Death. I was not at the Shabazz show, but I imagine that the crowd looked much different from the one that nearly filled Neumos tonight. Shabazz are heady, hip, Sub Pop and Pitchfork endorsed. That crowd, I assume, was excited but high brow, arms crossed, heads nodding in approval. Tonight’s was rowdy, careless, and extremely blunted. A haze of smoke filled the room and Nacho claimed that he was “high enough to make up for anyone who’s sober”. That didn’t hinder him and hypeman Jarv Dee from exuding each ounce of showmanship possible. Nacho delivered his lines with aplomb as Dee reinforced his rhymes and coaxed the crowd into a tizzy. Nacho looked and felt like a star ready to reach new ears and new rooms. Big rooms. Rooms in every city around the country. He has the demeanor, the hooks, and the production to be the biggest singular voice to emerge from the Seattle scene on a national mainstream scale since Sir Mix A Lot. If tonight’s audience is any indication, he is as likely to gain fans from airplay on KEXP as he is on KUBE. What tonight’s crowd proves is the crossover appeal of the MC with the cartoon handle. Here’s to Nacho, here’s to all of the kids jamming out tonight, here’s to a Seattle MC who can put the city on the map in completely new circles.

About ctrimis

I am a student at the University of Washington, majoring in Percussion Performance and Music Education. View all posts by ctrimis

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