The Coup Reverb, Toronto ON - October 25, 2005

It's hard to believe, but October 25 marked the first Toronto appearance by Oakland, CA's commie rap crew the Coup, despite having already released four classic and award-winning albums since 1993. And the wait was worth it. DJ Pam was absent due to a commitment to her catering company, but lead rapper and producer Boots Riley brought along hype-woman Silk-E for the hooks and also a very tight three-piece band that added extra dimension to the Coup's already funky rhythms. While the vocals were fairly low and muffled during the first third of their 90-minute set, that didn't seem to stop Boots, his band and the rather disappointingly small crowd from enjoying themselves. With the extra space, the crowd felt free to dance and groove while Boots — zoot-suited and afro-ed up — ran through a few new tracks from the Coup's upcoming Pick a Bigger Weapon (set to drop in February), along with previously released hits like "5 Million Ways to Kill a C.E.O.," "Get Up" and "Me and Jesus the Pimp in a '79 Granada Last Night," saving the open letter to his daughter, "Wear Clean Draws," for the encore. Like a good bandleader, Boots allowed time for a "roll call" track that introduced each of the band members through their own rhyming couplet and also for Silk-E to shine with a solid soul song and a crazy verse following Boots on a Coup song. Afterwards, a humble Boots Riley could be found slanging his own merchandise in between signing plenty of autographs. Guaranteed, word of mouth will have the crowd a lot bigger the next time the Coup come to town, which will hopefully be very soon.