GZA / Blist The Warehouse, Calgary AB March 26

GZA / Blist The Warehouse, Calgary AB March 26
Local openers Blist have a claim to fame in that one of their members is Andrew Sparacino, the dude who played Tron in the cult classic Fubar. Combining some super goofy, '90s-in-a-bad-way lyrics with mediocre beats, the rap duo were more corny Organized Rhyme than lovable Beastie Boys. With a city growing as rapidly as Calgary, and a fairly large underground culture, it's hard to believe this was the best we could produce for a GZA opener.

Harder still to believe the same i>Fubar cast that unleashed CPC Gangbangs could also birth this travesty. They kept saying, "Only two more songs," but their set never seemed to end. When it finally did, at around midnight, we were treated to an elongated set from their DJ, who spun top 40 hip-hop from the likes of Jay-Z, Kanye and Snoop. The crowd was into it, but it started to run a little long, and soon everyone was chanting "Wu-Tang" so loud it drowned out the music.

By the time GZA (pictured) finally took the stage, it was nearly 1am, and expectations were unreasonably high. Naturally, GZA's laidback swagger couldn't match the hype leading up to his showcase, but he did prove to be an able performer, high-fiving his legions and never flubbing a line. Calmly walking back and forth with one hand in his pocket, he had an easygoing presence that made him more exciting to listen to than watch.

Still, the Wu enthusiasts that crowded the capacity venue clung on to every word, ending lines to every song. Dropping abbreviated versions from Liquid Swords and his latest Pro Tools album, as well as some 36 Chambers, GZA covered a lot of material in a little time. It would certainly be a lot more entertaining to catch GZA with a few other Clansmen, but as a solo performer he did his job well.