Live @ The Observatory: Aesop Rock

Aesop spits so fast that his face is a blur. Or I'm just bad at taking pictures.
Aesop spits so fast that his face is a blur. Or I’m just bad at taking pictures.

In college, I thought I was the coolest kid when I could tell people that I listened to Aesop Rock.  He was more underground than Slug, and if I could be snobby about liking complex lyrics, I must’ve had a cloud of smug that hung around my head as I walked the campus.  But when Reach asked if I wanted to cover the Aesop concert, I realized I only could remember three of his songs. 


Parking at the Observatory in Santa Ana is weird.  They have their own lot which they split into two sections for unknown reasons, that seems to be free.  Unfortunately, I realized when we got there that I had left my wallet at home, so my best friend had to bring me back to my apartment down the street and leave our beautiful parking spot.  When we returned, the lot had filled so we were directed across the street to pay $10 for parking.  Grumble grumble, but yeah, it’s my fault.  

This is not the line for Aesop Rock. Polica fans.
This is not the line for Aesop Rock. Polica fans.

We walked across the street to the venue where I was given enough wristbands for both weekends at Coachella, which made sure I didn’t sneak in to see Polica.  I don’t even know who Polica is, but apparently they have a very young following and are an indie-rock outfit from Minnesota.  The Constellation Room is literally a room.  I have never been to the actual Observatory for a concert, so I can’t really compare, but this room can get sweaty in a hurry.  

Busdriver tells all the kids to shut up because he's sick of hearing "Wheels On The Bus".
Busdriver tells all the kids to shut up because he’s sick of hearing “Wheels On The Bus”.

Busdriver is a hybrid artist.  I couldn’t stop thinking about how he looks like Wale, sounds like Wyclef on caffeine pills, and hits an MPC like Nosaj Thing.  Energy wasn’t an issue but remembering his own verses was.  Twice he apologized for forgetting his own lyrics which is just a tad too casual for an opening act.  Add in the fact that I can’t tell what he’s saying, I didn’t really care much for this performance.  I just liked that he rang (rapped/sang) while producing his own beats live.  Feel free to use “rang” from now on. It’s so fetch.

My camera is haunted and only takes pictures of people's souls.
My camera is haunted and only takes pictures of people’s souls.

Blurry pictures are my specialty and enunciating is Aesop Rock’s.  Delivery-wise, his voice and diction are unmistakable.  Rob Sonic is a fairly decent partner in crime with DJ Big Wiz backing them up on the tables.  After some research, I found out that together they are called Hail Mary Mallon.  Hands down, I was impressed.  Usually, a rap act will take breaks in between every few songs to get a breather, but I swear, these dudes ripped out five songs in a row without even pausing.  Their first break was just to get a guy on stage only to have Busdriver shave off random spots of his hair (see blur above).  Even then, Aesop was still rapping during it.  

As I mentioned earlier, the Constellation room can get sweaty.  About twenty minutes into the set, I had to get out of the sauna, but I did hear “None Shall Pass” and “Daylight” which were two of the three songs I had remembered.  “No Regrets” is my all time favorite from the SF producer/artist, but I couldn’t bear the mosh-pit of perspiration to wait around for it.  Because I love you for reading this, I’ve put those three songs below.  


“Life’s not a bitch. Life is a beautiful woman.”


“And i will rejoice in your fall from grace with a cane through the sky like, none shall pass.”


“I’ve never had a dream in my life, because a dream is what you want to do but still haven’t pursued. I knew what I wanted, and did it till it was done, so I’ve been the dream that I’ve wanted to be since day one.” 




Ryan Teng


Staff Writer

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