Kool Keith Circa, Toronto ON April 10

Kool Keith Circa, Toronto ON April 10
Kool Keith is notorious for his erratic behaviour when it comes to his live show, so seeing him perform can be a gamble. And the stakes are raised when the crowd is composed at best of 20 percent fans and the rest regulars of Randomland Fridaze, the usual club event for that night at Circa.

With a fresh crowd of ears to please, it was up to Kool Keith to step up and provide. So when he stepped out and opened with a small selection of classics like "Poppa Large" and "Ease Back," from his legendary first group, Ultramagnetic MC's, before easing into Dr Octagon's "Blue Flowers," it was easy to see why the whole crowd was focused on the stage.

Keith also gave full renditions of a few other songs, like Octagon love song "Girl Let Me Touch You," Black Elvis braggadocio track "Livin' Astro," along with one or two others, including one for the encore, and a couple of solid freestyles. But aside from that the rest of the show consisted of Keith and hype man Marc Live running through one chorus after another as DJ D. Deft laid down a string of instrumentals grouped by album and alias. It was pretty much just a tease, demonstrating to the crowd how many hits he has without the actual need to remember any lyrics; yet the choruses are also far from the best part of the songs.

So, hearing him drop the choruses of - but not even one verse for - numerous classic crowd pleasers like "Earth People," "Sex Styles," and "Halfsharkalligatorhalfman," would have been comical if it wasn't so dissatisfying. Sure, we can't have all of the hits, but surely we can have all of some of the hits. Their was also an absence of baggies of chicken and porn videos handed out to the crowd, as well as only one girl - not scantily clad - for only one song on stage dancing. In other words, it was a tame Kool Keith show.

Still, the gamble paid off as Keith at least showed up, he performed for a full hour, and he proved without a doubt that when he's rapping he sounds as great as he ever did. And that's good enough for me.