Saturday night, Ontario rapper Shad made one of his all-too-rare Los Angeles appearances, headlining at the Moroccan Lounge.
After a regular three-to-four year break between shows, the rhymer-broadcaster-Master’s degree having-Host of Peabody Award winning Hip-Hop Evolution documentary series performed for a devoted and die-hard crowd Saturday.
Despite a new album out now A Short Story About War (Secret City Records), Shad‘s set was full of fan favorites from throughout his career like “Rose Garden” from 2010 release TSOL, as well as “Compromise” & “The Old Prince Still Lives At Home” from his breakout 2007 album The Old Prince.
Through his characteristic self-deprecating and intriguing style, he frequently alternates between social commentary and reflective poetry. It puts Shad in the alt-rapper category, and he cemented the alt part even more during the show by taking questions from the audience between songs. He also explained various elements of his music including the inspiration for characters within his songs, working with other artists like Kaytranada (for “The Fool Part III-Frame Of Mind”), the drive to challenge himself creatively, and what he’s been doing since his last time in LA. Notably, he mentioned his foray into indie-pop with the brilliant concept album Adult Contempt by his alter-ego Your Boy Tony Braxton, from 2016 (Arts And Crafts). LA never did get a tour date for that album but hopefully there’s more to come from YBTB in the future.
The songs from A Short Story About War sounded great. Highlights: “The Fool Pt 1 (Get It Got It Good)” got things rolling early with it’s upbeat brass and party sound contrasting with some serious subject matter. Hard-hitting “The Stone Throwers (Gone In A Blink)” has a heavy beat fitting for the impactful fight-the-power lyrics.
Despite the infrequency of Shad shows in Los Angeles the crowd was engaged 100% and obviously so excited to get to see him perform. Considering how “mellow” LA crowds can be, that was great to see. He hinted that he may be back in the not-too-distant future so hopefully it won’t be 3 or 4 years until the next Shad show here. But if it is, we all got our money’s worth Saturday night.
Words and photos by Tim Aarons