Aceyalone / RJD2 / Busdriver Phoenix Concert Theatre, Toronto ON - February 25, 2006

Words flung from the tongue of Busdriver arrived almost as fast as they did from John Moschitta, the man whose rapid-fire, machine gun rhetoric sold Micro Machines in the '80s. Entire sentences propelled you to hip-hop's outer limits. Some registered; some did not. Anyway, it's the ride that counted. And this avant-garde, L.A.-based MC, the one claiming to be "the first black astronaut to walk the bare moon," his hilariously abstract raps mapped the path to absurdity. He'd halt mid-verse just to converse, urging the "Tah-rawn-toe" crowd to get live, and then define happiness as a unit of measurement in a drawl accentuated intellectually by his hyper-literate flow. After a brief lull to digest the density of Busdriver's diatribe, RJD2 took his place onstage. His hands conjured and wove an intricate sonic canvass — a beacon for ears and eyes — from four turntables in turbulence and a drum machine. Out came the sounds of soul music both young and old, married in a mix in his head. The audience stood stunned, some stoned. It went on with him hurtling us from not-so-distant decades ("1976," off Since We Last Spoke) into the deception and delight of Deadringer. A well-synchronised video component kept the masses mesmerised. Under his control, the instrumental ruled. When Aceyalone finally dragged his ass onstage — too long after RJD2 left it — we'd seen the best and merely awaited the end. That's not to say that Aceyalone didn't rip it, 'cause he did. He blazed through his best new songs — whether it was "Disconnected" or the Technicolor triumph of "All For You" — from Magnificent City, his collaboration with RJD2. But after RJD2, everything else was pale in comparison. It was as if the DJ and MC had reversed roles, flipped back to the days when a record — not the mic — in your hand held the party in check.