How did we end up at this feeling? The answer lies over two weeks prior, when I got an email alert from Ticketmaster telling me that there would be a Mos Def concert at the Apollo Theater on Saturday, January 23rd.Immediately I'm like I'M THERE! This is a great thing. I am a huge Mos Def fan and I had never seen him perform live, so I jump at the chance, especially since the notice mentioned NO ONE ELSE, just him. Tix? Copped. No questions arise, no questions asked.
And then it all came crashing down.
A week later I receive this nut ass email:
Ticketmaster Alert - Mos Def - Event Update
Oh, HEEEEEEEELLLLLLLLLLL NAAAAAAAAAAWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!!!
This message is sent to you on behalf of the Apollo Theatre:
Dear Apollo customer,
Last week you purchased tickets to an upcoming event at the Apollo Theater on Saturday, January 23, 2010. The promoter of this event is IMAN (Inner-City Muslim Action Network) has provided more detailed information about the show than we had at the time of purchase:
IMAN PRESENTS SPECIAL EDITION OF COMMUNITY CAFE
Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 8:30 PM
Featuring Amir Sulaiman & Liza Garza
With Special Performances by Mos Def and Aasif Mandvi (Daily Show)
-And Many More!
-Azhar Usman (Allah Made Me Funny)
-Ibrahim Abdul Matin (IMAN NYC Initiative)
-Kidragon and Raichous
The Apollo Theater is pleased to be the venue where IMAN is presenting their show, and will be happy to answer any questions you may have
Assistant Box Office Manager
These kufi-wearing bastards have bamboozled me with the old bait and switch! Please note that I highlighted the brief mention of Mos Def so y'all could find his name in the email, because it was not prominently displayed at all....You know, the way it was when they sold me two tickets! Fuckers.
So now I'm pissed, I want my money back. I notice Ticketmaster does not give refunds but I am almost mad enough to test this theory, and on the other hand, I kinda still wanna go cuz I don't know how long his set will be, and at least it might be blog-worthy.
And oh was it ever.
1st Sign that I'm in for a shitty night: tickets purchased to be picked up at will call share the same line with people who didn't buy tickets beforehand and are getting them at the door. This is troubling for a number of reasons:
1. The event is NOT sold out, probably because no one wants to pay $20 (oh yeah the price went down after the bait and switch was announced, another reason I'm pissed) to see a damn Muslim talent show on a Saturday night except other Muslims
2. What the hell is the point of buying tickets in advance? This is the sign of an unprofessional operation, i.e. The Apollo Theater. BOOOOOOOOOO!
3. Are there folks who look like hip-hop heads in the line with me? No, there are folks who look like Muslims.
This is gonna be a long night.
I get to my seat, and three hijab-wearing chicks in nurse-scrub blouse/dress combos and jeans are singing about Allah. FUCK!I arrived an hour late on purpose. This translated into having to sit through two hours of random ass Muslims waiting for Mos to show, as opposed to three. Hooray for me.
At this point, I try to see the humor in the situation. I crack side jokes with Jazzy Jen about the various performers:
-Muslim folk singers with guitar and bongos playing a slow song while a hippy Muslim chick wearing 7/8 of cloth dances like a stoned white chick....before coming to the mic to pray, of course. Wait, now two breakdancers have suddenly appeared from the sides and are breaking, fast, completely out of tune with the music. Um, okay....
-The ReMINDers, a husband and wife hip-hop duo. He raps, she raps, head wraps, and sings. They were actually fairly entertaining, by far the most dynamic of the random ass Muslims scheduled for the evening.-Two opera singers...good...just not here. The guy was a dark Indian (the kind that war with Hindus) and the woman was black and dressed like a cross between the trash bag thing Missy had going in The Rain video, and Janet in the Busta Rhymes joint.
-Outlandish: apparently very popular in their native Copenhagen, these guys sucked. Couldn't understand a word they were saying, partly cuz some of it was in another language, mostly because of poor diction. And the Jon B-looking lead singer kept shielding his eyes from the stage lights like a pussy.
Now we're at 10:00PM. The Muslims are on schedule, unlike their Christian brethren. Mos Def is scheduled to go on at the end of this hour, just before the "recognition of volunteers" and "prayer for Haiti."
First Aasif Mandvi, an actor/performer who you might recognize from The Daily Show, did a great one-man original theatre piece. Real talk, I'd pay to see this guy on his own. He was the only such performer of the night in the Muslim Breakfast Sampler show.Now it's 10:20, and things take a turn for the worse. The first "headliner" appears, Liza Garza, with her baby strapped to her back.SKEEERRRRRRRRTTTTTTT!!!!! That's right, a fucking baby. It's mad loud in there, that baby gon' go deaf! Whass wrong witchu?!?!?! I have no idea what she sang about, I never recovered from the baby thing. She was only up for like ten minutes, when the other "headliner" shows up.
Amir Sulaiman. Remember the name. If you are ever at an event and this nigga is performing, leave. He sucks. He really sucks, and he's REALLY feeling himself. In his mind, he's the Air Jordan VII of spoken word artists.
In reality, he's way too loud and aggressive, his band sucks, and he's not nearly as deep as he'd like to think. Like, this is one of those poetry guys who does it cuz he can't rap to a beat, and that pisses me off!
I would bear it, but as 10:30 became 10:40, and 10:45, and I realize Mos Def will be OFF stage by 11, I am growing IRRATE (Delta Eta What!) By 10:55 when he finishes, I am done. I am willing to wage jihad on him, the nut ass host of the show who was wearing sandals all night like it ain't January, and the over-hype Muslims giving Amir Sulaiman too much props so he thought he was cool. Amir Sulaiman, if you're reading, you're not cool.
Now it's 10:58, a screen comes down, they're recognizing volunteers and talking about Haiti.
Did these niggas skip the Mos Def portion of the show?????? FUUUUUUUUCK DAT!!! People are applauding and standing up for Haiti and shit, and I'm not having it. I think I actually said "Fuck Haiti!" I was so upset, and almost ready to leave.
Then finally, they introduce the Mighty Mos, who received no long ass intro like the other half-assed performers, crowning them "the voice of not only BK but the continent, the hemisphere, the world!" That's a direct quote. I think host guy sensed that some natives were restless, like myself.
Mos Def shows up in what is known as the Canadian Tuxedo, which is jeans and a jean jacket for those who are unfamiliar. He is also rocking shiny black loafers and his jeans are high-water enough so we can see his red socks, and he proceeds to kick off some tunes from the new album.
Honestly, I couldn't even enjoy the first song cuz I was still just angry at Muslims to the point I wanted to move to Israel, so "Wahid" I was not present for.
Then the beat to "Priority" dropped, and so did my shoulders, cuz that's my favorite cut on the record. This was short-lived joy cuz while he did the next joint, "Life in Marvelous Times," we almost got kicked out the venue cuz Jazzy Jen tried to get a pic of Mos and the usher was tripping, motioning for us to leave. I put my hands up and said, CHILL! Then I turned and said "this nigga gon' have to THROW me out, physically, if he expects me to leave now after sitting through two hours of random ass Muslims.
He did not, but I couldn't enjoy that song either.
Then Mos was like, "this is about to be some real precision work, I gotta come right on the 1s." And then he proceeded to KILL IT, performing "Casa Bey" EXACTLY the way it sounds on the album, which if you're not familiar, is very impressive. I was delighted for those four and a half minutes, as well as the next few in which he did "Umi Says." That was really good too, but was it worth suffering that whole night for five songs? Y'all tell me.
C4 2 Ya Door