Fatlip / Omni Reverb, Toronto, ON - July 22, 2006

Maybe Fatlip isn’t cut out for this shit anymore. Call me a cynic but after leaving the Pharcyde in the mid-’90s, Derrick "Fatlip” Stewart hasn’t prospered as a solo artist the way many felt he would. To be a fan is to be frustrated, and even when his long-awaited debut, The Loneliest Punk, dropped last fall — a decade after going solo — it wasn’t embraced with warmth. With his "dependability,” a gig at the Reverb was to be taken with a grain of salt. Omni opened the proceedings adequately with a steady flow of freestyles and cuts from his "Australian-only” LP, a rather embarrassing fact nicely pointed out by tour DJ Twist. Unfortunately, the 30 spectators weren’t too enthused and Omni managed to only inspire a couple of head nods. Twist, on the other hand, took the spotlight but for the wrong reasons. Struggling to fill some dead air while Fatlip took his time taking the stage, the David Spade-like DJ came off foolish as he "proved” how drum & bass, dancehall and virtually every beat was the same. Inviting a less-than-gifted, potty-mouthed freestyler on stage to kill time was even more aggravating. When Fatlip finally appeared expectations were high, though only amongst a crowd of 50 or so. Warmly received, he proved to be the lovable clown he’s known as — but only for the first couple songs. What followed was a sad and pitiful 30-minute set that found a desperate individual trying to cling to his past. With a handful of songs from his solo debut, the MC chose to give equal attention to his Pharcyde years by trying to pull off far too many half-songs from his old group’s best cuts. The result was a pathetic excuse only worsened by the decision to invite the aforementioned amateur freestyler and another fan to rhyme the entirety of "Passing Me By.” And of course, Twist’s persistent assuming of the role of a second-rate hype man didn’t help matters. A disgraceful night for everyone in attendance — that had a clue — and hopefully Fatlip himself. Poor sod.