Rap fiends from the depths of the Pacific Northwest materialized Saturday night to chant pre-Halloween lyrical incantations to more than 300 people at the BellTower Concert House.
Opening act and Seattle rapper Grynch took the stage first shortly after 8 p.m. The mad rapper commanded audience members to channel him their life-force so he could feed on their energy for his set.
“We’re bringing Jesus and demons back tonight,” Grynch said.
BellTower management divided the concert hall into two sections, one for minors and a bar area for those 21 years and older. The minor side was slightly less than half the size of the room and filled quickly with members of the younger crowd. Among the crowd attendees was King Tut, a human whoopee cushion, the princess-saving plumber Mario, a member of the Seattle SuperSonics, the Greek party god Dionysus and back-from-the-dead tree-painter Bob Ross.
“The music is pleasing tonight ... Also, let it be written. Let it be done,” he ordered, following the release of a royal belch.
Rapper Bambu began his performance after Grynch’s half-hour set and a short delay between the two acts. Lighters and lightsabers waved in the air during Bambu’s performance. In addition to his own material, the rapper covered Das Racist’s song “Who’s That? Brooown!” and Rage Against The Machine’s “How Could I Just Kill A Man?”
The crowd size nearly doubled as the time decreased between Bambu’s and the Blue Scholars’ set. The Blue Scholars consists of MC Geo and Sabzi. The hip-hop duo has played multiple shows in Pullman, including performances at past Cougfests and Springfests.
Geo and Sabzi relaxed in a quiet backroom of the BellTower before their set while playing piano and Angry Birds. The show Saturday at the BellTower was the last stop of the pair’s west leg of the Cinemetropolis Fall 2011 Tour before they travel across the Midwest to the East coast and finally end their tour in November in Hawaii.
“Every day has popped off so far,” MC Geo said. “Energy, attendance and the other artists have all been good.”
Geo has acknowledged his Husky origins at previous shows the Blue Scholars have had in Pullman and this time was no different.
“I’m a Husky, right?” GEO said. “When I was at UW I had Wazzu friends, so I’ve seen how ya’ll do out here. Much love to UW, but over here it cracks a little more. Maybe it’s because there’s less to do, so there’s a thicker energy.”
Sabzi said he has noticed the energy at Pullman shows, as well, compared to other venues.
“It’s unique here,” Sabzi said. “It’s not like there’s other stuff happening, and the crowd is more focused.”
The Blue Scholars’ favorite concert in the Palouse was the Northwest FASA conference of 2005, where Geo began rapping the theme song from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and caused a chain reaction sing-along.
MC Geo said his main priority this Halloween will be to make sure his 7-year-old son has enough candy, and hopes the mischievous tricks he pulled as a younger Halloween celebrator do not offset his current Karma.
Sabzi did not reveal his fears.
“I’m the one you should be afraid of,” he said.
When the Blue Scholars took the stage, they were met with a roar of zombie wails and banshee screams, as well as thunderous clapping. They opened the show with an old-school song called “Inkwell” from their first and self-titled album. They also performed "Sagaba," a mellower number they have not pulled out as much during past Pullman performances. Other than that, the Blue Scholars set consisted primarily of tracks from their latest album, "Cinemetropolis," although they played “North by Northwest” and “Joe Metro,” which are both tracks from their album "Bayani."
After closing on “Joe Metro,” the Blue Scholars left the stage, but returned shortly to perform an encore, inviting at least 30 members of the crowd on stage with them.