What the fuck are we doing here? Some semblance of this question was muttered by many of those in attendance, clinging to faith against all odds and reason at DOOM's inexplicably ill-fated Toronto appearance, which was, well, doomed from the get-go.
When this DOOM/Mos Def tour was postponed by a month, few fans were surprised; the idea that two of the most talented yet erratic MCs around couldn't keep their shit together to make a tour work was pretty much a foregone conclusion. And so we waited an extra month for the Toronto date to materialize, and in the week leading up to it, all kinds of shit went down.
A Chicago show began five hours late with an apparently incoherent Black Dante performing for 20 minutes before bailing on the trek completely. Of course, the tales of DOOM (whose real name is Daniel Dumile and only appears in public wearing a domineering mask) sending imposters out in his stead came to fruition, and Chi-town was not kind to the lip-synching doppelganger who also fled the stage after 20 minutes. Then the New York show scheduled just after the Toronto date was cancelled for some reason, making the whole idea of a Canadian stop actually occurring much less feasible.
Hoping to curb the melodrama, Toronto promoters REMG offered Mos fans who didn't enter the Kool Haus refunds and sent patrons a message that they'd be checking Dumile's identification to ensure that the real DOOM would take the stage. How fucked up does all of this sound? Wait, it gets slightly more awesome.
In an understandably pensive room, Toronto's D-Sisve stormed the stage at around 9 p.m., ripping through energetic tracks from albums like Let the Children Die, The Book, and Jonestown. "How y'all doing tonight," he asked a stiff, expectant crowd. "We're gonna ask you that after every song," D-Sisive joked, self-consciously ribbing the conventions of a hip-hop show while giving it his all.
Some of those more unsavoury aspects of rap concerts came to light after D-Sisive's all-too-short 30-minute set. DOOM was scheduled to go on at 10 p.m. after an excellent selection of classic and new hip-hop joints by DJ duo, the Mixtape Massacre. Somewhere around ten, a camo-decked organizer informed the crowd that DOOM was at the airport and on his way to the Kool Haus after clearing customs and that he'd be onstage in 45 minutes. The crowd booed and shuffled off into different corners of the room.
An hour passed, another "It's actually DOOM and he's on his way" announcement was made, while an inordinate number of young thugs passed out or seized up on the ground, high on drugs, drink, and at least some restlessness. As the stage was peppered with beer cans and debris from an increasingly hostile, all-ages crowd, the DJs cleared the way, while Raekwon's Only Built for Cuban Linx... Part II blasted through the sound system. This might have been fine if the ignorant soundman wasn't playing it through a partially plugged-in iPod, creating some kind of screeching, noise experiment out of the record that further infuriated fans, particularly after he realized his mistake and jarringly plugged it in properly. Jesus Christ.
Some time around 12:15 a.m., a fake DOOM barged onstage to the sound of Madvillainy's "Accordion," laughing through what was presumably a joke. Middle fingers and boos soon turned to cheers as another DOOM - the real DOOM? - followed behind and completed the song. After bantering with the suddenly forgiving crowd and playing older chestnuts and newer songs, DOOM seemed to have the show in control. Then a half hour in, a curious tech issue occurred, DJ Superstar Dave Dar left the stage, DOOM soon followed and everything ground to a halt - except for many members of the audience who left the show.
So why did we all do this to ourselves? Why would we willingly go see DOOM after all of the no-shows, delays and imposters? The only explanation is the strength of the music itself, but despite DOOM's best efforts, even that didn't come across sounding so shit-hot at the Kool Haus. Will DOOM ever play Toronto again? Did he even really show up for this show? No one knows. And really at this point, no one should give a fuck.