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Friday, January 22, 2010

Mad Rad's Triumphant Return to Neumos

Posted by on Fri, Jan 22, 2010 at 11:30 AM


I only caught a handful of songs of Mad Rad's return to Neumos last night, but it was enough to answer some of the questions voiced in my column this week. First of all, of course it's unfair to compare Mad Rad to Shabazz Palaces—that was never really the point of that column. The point is simply that, in the wake of Shabazz's debut, all the so-called "third wave" Seattle hip hop acts are going to have to step their games up in a major way. And, love 'em or hate 'em, Mad Rad really do look set to step things up mightily in 2010.

The show was sold-out by 9:30 (although—and last comparison here, for real—unlike Shabazz's sold-out show two weeks ago, this one was free), and people outside said they'd seen multiple people begging and even attempting to bribe Neumos security to be let in. Inside, it was packed but not uncomfortably so, the crowd composed not of familiar faces but rather of a lot of potential new fans, and there really was a triumphantly celebratory vibe in the air, and rightly so.


"My Product," maybe the best track of the band's debut White Gold, a big, thumping stupid-fun electro banger, sounded massive on the Neumos sound system, the whole crowd pogoing and clapping along, the floor bending under the weight. Concerning the line in my column about "no more ring-tone thin synths and freshman-grade party raps," let's be clear: P-Smoov's productions are super solid, and the guys' admittedly goofy party rapping at at least a senior-year (or highly motivated drop-out) level.


And the little bit of new material I heard bodes well for the band. A new song called "Strange Love" (for which Buffalo Madonna brought onstage and ascended a ladder) sounded almost like a Depeche Mode study, Buffalo singing/screaming morosely, Terry Radjaw rapping aggressively, P-Smoov playing a buzzing synth lead and singing robotic via a glassy vocoder. DJ Darwin was, as always, grinning and hyping the crowd and hamming it up with the other members, and the guys all look like they're having such a good time up there that it's really hard not to love. They did what I think was another new song, with Buffalo again screaming over a double time, scraping drum beat and some dour minor chords, culminating with a chant of "fuck you/that's how we do." They pulled Rik Rude out for a rousing rendition of the Fresh Espresso song "Laser Beams," Rik getting the crowd chanting "out for stardom!", P-Smoov back on that vocoder. (At some point around here, beer started getting thrown around in the crowd.) They did a slow jam about "when the lights go out" (a P-Smoov solo number, I think), sounding a little Boyz 2 Men about it, like a real stab at a pop group.

I had to split after that, but that's fine. I'd come to this show with one question on my mind: Are Mad Rad ready to elevate shit in 2010? Last night, it sure as hell looked like it.


photos by Kristen Blush; more after the jump










Comments (32) RSS

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Please no more white rap
Posted by madradareniceguysbut... on January 22, 2010 at 12:54 PM · Report this
Posted by linkforyou on January 22, 2010 at 2:54 PM · Report this
"They did a slow jam about "when the lights go out" (a P-Smoov solo number, I think), sounding a little Boyz 2 Men about it, like a real stab at a pop group."

Before the song, P Smoov said something to the effect of, "this song is about exactly one thing, and that's pressing your dick against the ass of the girl you're with to show her what you're packing tonight." I don't think I ever heard Boyz 2 Men say that....
Posted by tiodan on January 22, 2010 at 2:58 PM · Report this
Boyz 2 Live Crew Men
Posted by Eric Grandy on January 22, 2010 at 3:15 PM · Report this
matt 5
That 1st new song you mention is from the Give Seattle 2009 comp (for now), and I think it's more of a Pet Shop Boys homage (at least the studio version) than Depeche Mode. Love In a Strange World.
Posted by matt on January 22, 2010 at 3:45 PM · Report this
Seriously, the amount of coverage this band has gotten (specifically from the Stranger) is getting a little embarrassing. Isn't the dude from Fences getting a new teardrop tattoo soon or something that would warrant a cover?

If I was from outside of this city and read the Stranger, I would think that Mad Rad were the epicenter of something special, and not just the mayors of Fixie Baristaville.
Posted by Casual_Observer on January 22, 2010 at 4:36 PM · Report this
OH SHIT! I go back to re-read the article and I realize (having made my petty little swipe at Fences earlier) that HE IS PLAYING GUITAR WITH MACKLEMORE NOW. Wow. Thank god they put on a show within walking distance of the Stranger offices so you guys could cover EVERY SINGLE PERSON WORTH MENTIONING IN THE SEATTLE MUSIC SCENE. Was Shabazz Palaces sitting on the side of the stage, or was their ghost just hanging over the crowd the entire night?

Posted by Casual_Observer on January 22, 2010 at 4:38 PM · Report this
Best thing about this show? Every Urban Outfitters in a 10 mile radius was a GHOST TOWN.
Posted by Casual_Observer on January 22, 2010 at 4:40 PM · Report this
Just when I thought Grandy grew a pair of balls! Dude cant even back up his own gauntlet throwdown and just support Shabaz being legit and crucial and these guys being douches.
Posted by What a pussy on January 22, 2010 at 5:22 PM · Report this
What about the other new song....YOU.....YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE........YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE!!!!! Which is exactly what Mad Rad is all about, who gives a fuck what others think, have some fun. So shut up with all the bitching and have some god damn fun already. Do any of you haters go to any Seattle area shows and come away saying "HOLY SHIT THAT WAS FUN!" probably not because you were all standing in the back while the other half of the crowd was having fun getting down. I'm sorry if you can't dance...neither can I but I have a hell of a lot of fun doing whatever the hell it is I do. You should really try it some time. I was a little skeptical because I was DD and had absolutely no alcohol as apposed to the many previous Mad Rad shows, I moved more at the Neumo's show than any others. I guess Neumo's saw the crowd Mad Rad brings to Fremont and they needed some money. What happened to the other clubs that banned them....oh yeah 2 of them already closed during the ban......what a shame.......

On a Capitol Hill note.... I'm glad Mad Rad was banned and forced to play Ballard and Fremont. I would much rather spend my time down there than be up on the hill with the attitudes and douchebags. Macklemore called out some pussy who thought he was tough shit and threw a half assed slow-motion punch in the crowd.... at least in Fremont you have a better chance of not getting shot and harrassed by the wannabe pimps standing outside.
Posted by hear that...mad rad is back on January 22, 2010 at 5:28 PM · Report this

the reason we hate mad rad is cause we dont like to have fun.
Posted by "Haters". go back to 2003. on January 22, 2010 at 6:15 PM · Report this
I guess you just don't understand why Mad Rad is so f'ing amazing. You could try asking someone, but if you don't get it already, you're probably sh*t outta luck. I wish I could share this feeling *shrugs*.
Posted by haterz on planet blast on January 22, 2010 at 11:59 PM · Report this
Its one thing if this was a band who got lots of press and only 40 people showed up to see their shows. If that was the case then hell yes lots spew hate and talk lots of shit. But it's hard to be mad at a band for getting press when 700 people show up, early non the less, and all enjoy the show. The stranger isn't missing the point, you are.
Posted by hate it or love it on January 23, 2010 at 3:37 AM · Report this
OK, idiot barely-old-enough-to-drink:

all the criticism (thats "hatin" to you) that these guys get on this blog is about how much this blog sucks their dick...not about whether or not they are any good.

which, by the way, they AINT.

they enjoy a success that only capitalizing on "infamy" (beating on bouncers, getting banned from clubs, doing blow, saying "pussy", being white) brings.

and they have a perfect defense:


whenever anyone has a criticism, they say that they are just HATIN.

"HATIN"? as a concept/phrase, whatever? was fucking abandoned by its creators in the early 00's. why? because idiot rich whiteboys that dug eminem used it wayyyy too much.

meaning all you safety glass trust fund EAST SIDERS just make this already suspect frat rap band seem WAY less huge when you start talking about how the only reason someone would dare talk shit about mad rad is because they dont know how to have a good time.


this city, scene, whatever, is comprised mostly of cutting edge wild motherfuckers that strictly live to party nightly at shows and parties getting their tits and dicks out.
and from Thee Satisfaction to Spurm there is proof that there is wild, fucked up, fun, danceable, crazy debaucherous bands all over this city, that (and heres the rub) fucking MATTER musically, conceptually, and FUN-WISE.

and just because Grandy cant write a check his butt can cash (putting Shabazz Palaces on the cover and rightly posting about how mad rad are essentially obsolete...and then doing a complete about-face cause the dumb nerd is scared of mad rad? or cause its safer for him to obsess over vampire weekend?) doesnt mean that theres not a huge majority in this city that sees this band for what they are.

and no. its not cause we dont like to have fun at shows.

Posted by what do vampire weekend and mad rad have in common? on January 23, 2010 at 3:50 AM · Report this
"they enjoy a success that only capitalizing on "infamy" (beating on bouncers, getting banned from clubs, doing blow, saying "pussy", being white) brings."

sorry i guess for the previous poster you must be black or at least not white to be good at music. f@ck you you racist piece of sh!t read your comment again and tell me im wrong. im so sick and tired of the reverse racism in this country and this is one major aspect of it that i see all the time. give it up, you f@cking BIGOT! don't hate on all the white performers out there that write music about life and not rapping about the life they want people to think they have had and blasting caps in bitches asses, you can go to those shows and dodge the bullets if you want, but dont disrespect them because you think you can. if i came on here and said champagne champagne is only famous because "they are being black" i would be way out of line and this comment board would never end, because i guess that is wrong as apposed to your "being white" comment. i don't like champagne champagne, not because of their color, because their music doesnt make me move. im not going to hate on them because i don't like them, i just won't go to a show or read any of their articles. that would be the right thing to do. F@CK YOU BIGOT! ever listen to macklemore? mad rad is about having a party and getting down, if you want more lyrically charged rap try him out, but i must warn you....he is white too.
Posted by stupid bigot on January 23, 2010 at 8:34 AM · Report this
All right.
Then it seems you DONT have a problem with my post as long as the words "being white" (which by the way, wasn't intended purely as a negative. I'm white too dude.) were removed. Fine. My point still stands. Sorry I hit such a sensitive nerve with you, guy!
Posted by For a MR fan you sure are thin skinned,oh wait, you all are! on January 23, 2010 at 10:31 AM · Report this
Why no love for Zoe Muth at all? Her new album is STELLAR......the stranger's narrow view of local music is sinking the ship. I guess I'll checkout what's going on a Seattle Weekly.

P.S. Please no more MAD RAD......fucking sexxy bicycle? Really?
Posted by Narrow on January 23, 2010 at 11:39 AM · Report this
To all the people who hate Mad Rad so much:

The place was at capacity before 10 PM.

It was a sweaty fucking dance party the whole night.

You people sound like jealous losers. Seriously, isn't your energy better directed somewhere else. OK, you think they suck, and you think they get too much coverage. Don't you see that by coming here, you only give them more attention? You only show that what they are doing is getting noticed. Especially by you.

If they suck so bad and they shouldn't get coverage, then don't make comment after comment about them. Don't go to the shows. Just stay away. It's not your thing. Cool. Leave it alone. You'll obviously have more fun somewhere else, right?
Posted by When Your Band Fills A Club Before 10, Call Me on January 23, 2010 at 4:11 PM · Report this
You basically have to make a deal with the devil to get the sound quality Mad Rad is built on. When I see their audience at shows, I can't help but imagine native americans unable to see the tall European ships first approaching. P Smoov is the producer's producer, Radjaw the graphic artist's graphic artist, Buffalo the performer's performer, and Darwin just outright fucking lovable as hell. They're each elevating OUR craft for us, AND they still have a giant fanbase who doesn't even recognize what's in front of them because they're not attuned. It's just plain silly what's happening. If you think Mad Rad sucks, I'm not saying you're a hater, I'm just saying it sounds like you're calling Haley's comet stupid cause you can't figure out what your dad is pointing at, lol.
Posted by haterz on planet blast on January 23, 2010 at 4:32 PM · Report this
um......nah, they are definitely overrated. its simple. no matter how eloquent they are defended by one (?) of maybe six insiders.

you dont think we should be on here commenting on them? well hows about YOU take the high road, act like a mature fanbase, and dont spend all your time on this thing acting like a bunch of nerds?

"haterz on planet blast":
dude, if they are as transendental as you claim in your ridiculously sloppy blowjob of a comment, well, then they dont need anyone defending them.
Posted by gizmo on January 24, 2010 at 2:21 AM · Report this
"To all the people who hate Mad Rad so much:
The place was at capacity before 10 PM.
It was a sweaty fucking dance party the whole night."

My god! Is this really the measure of an important band?

You know who else is at capacity before 10pm? Celine Deon.

Lots of people at your show doesnt mean shit, by itself.
This is the most overhyped band in recent history. Overhype=lots of people in the audience. Thats why people overhype stuff. To get lots of people lined up outside the club, unable to get in, talking up the vibe, and filling the joint to capacity.

This is Seattle. The city that invented this method. How are you just like forgetting this and viewing Mad Rad as conquering heroes?
They are just some guys that are very savy about manipulating popularity. And they like to be popular. And to party. Who dont?

But please-dont call them anything but that.
Posted by Funk 49 on January 24, 2010 at 2:31 AM · Report this
Larry Mizell, Jr. 22
if it was that easy, you losers could do it too. it's not, and you can't.
Posted by Larry Mizell, Jr. on January 24, 2010 at 1:19 PM · Report this
You all need to get off your high horses and calm the fuck down.
Mad Rad do not pretend to make music with any sort of depth, so all of your whining that Mad Rad is terrible because their lyrics don't include extended metaphors based on obscure novels laid over lo-fi guitars (or whatever you pretentious assholes qualify as "good") is falling on deaf ears.
You are completely missing the point.
Yeah, their lyrics are shallow, but the reason they've been "hyped" so much is that they are an incredibly refreshing change from the Seattle norm. There is no pretense involved. No one is standing on the wall trying to look cool because they're 'ttly appreeshing the musik', they're out on the dance floor, letting go of their inhibitions, getting drunk, and having a fucking GREAT time.
It's fun. It's silly. So let loose or shut the fuck up.
Posted by KKMB on January 24, 2010 at 1:44 PM · Report this
RT: if i came on here and said champagne champagne is only famous because "they are being black" i would be way out of line and this comment board would never end, because i guess that is wrong as apposed to your "being white" comment. i don't like champagne champagne, not because of their color, because their music doesnt make me move.

hey champ! leave champagne out of this. totally different music than Mad Rad. Just listen to each band. Mad rad is a party band built around dancing and having a good time. champagne writes melodic patterns with peaks and valleys and a much more dynamic song structure. and much more live instrumentation. apples and oranges. not saying one band is better than the other, just saying stop comparing the two bands just cause they hang out with each other.

grandy, stop flip flopping. stick to your original story. seattle hip hop needs to step up their game. it's much better now than it has been in years, but still needs work. and that dude is right. if you don't like the band, stop writing about them. i don't the guy above is arguing how much he dislikes mad rad (obviously he does) but is more concerned with who the stranger will cover them and talk shit. why cover them and talk shit? i agree.

mad rad is a talented group that people love to hate.

champagne will push seattle hip hop in 2010. you just wait!
Posted by gajamagic on January 24, 2010 at 3:27 PM · Report this
oh, and i think that the neumos show was fucking awesome. i've seen Mad Rad many times and they are amazing every show. they were at their best on thursday. i think that a lot of people get stuck on how much hype these guys are getting and sometime just automatically dislike them. just listen to the music they create. they got talent weather you like them or not. i'm pretty sure they are going global.
Posted by gajamagic on January 24, 2010 at 3:49 PM · Report this
Gizmo @ 20:

Hahahahahah you fucking loser. You prove my point exactly. I couldn't have put it any more perfect than what you wrote to show my point. What a complete douche you must be. Please keep writing in. Please keep showing more attention. Keep hating. Or... why don't you tell us what music we should be seeing. Lets see what you do like. Can you do anything besides being a jealous loser? Can you do anything besides hate?

and 21: Sorry, people lining up down the block to see something is a sign that whatever it is, is doing something right. Like it or not. It might not be your thing, but they're doing something right. Sorry it makes you so upset. Comparing Mad Rad to Celine Deon is dumb. No, what is a sign of an important band is a room at capacity and big growing fanbase that is totally excited by their music. You just end up sounded like a jealous, jaded loser.

Tell us, who in Seattle SHOULD be getting the attention. Let's hear who you like, not hate. Lets hear who you think should have a fanbase that gets this excited to see a show?

Posted by Call Me When Your Band Doesn't Suck on January 24, 2010 at 7:41 PM · Report this
djh 27
I once saw Mad Rad at the josephine in Ballard about a year ago to see what the hype was about. There was maybe 20 people in the room. These guys played as if they were doing a show for 700, they were putting their heart into it for sure. The music plain sucked, the raps were trite and the audience was primarily underage future frat house types. The problem with calling somebody a hater is that you are basically putting your fingers in your ears and saying"lalalalal". Mad Rad is a corny blip in the radar of NW Music. When the history book is written, or Light in the Attic releases the compilation of Seattle hip hop groups of the 00's I doubt the work this band has laid on wax to this point will be included. So they can get a shitload of folks coming to a free show after they basically had a full page ad (thanks Grandy....) in the stranger pumping it is not that impressive. What is impressive is how they have somehow garnered this much attention in the first place. When I talk to folks "In the scene" about these guys they never admit to digging their music but always give respect to these cats grind. Basically Mad Rad are the Spencer Pratt/ Heidi Montag of Seattle right now.
Posted by djh on January 24, 2010 at 9:29 PM · Report this
I keep confusing P smoov and Smoov B.
Posted by Chris Jury on January 24, 2010 at 11:21 PM · Report this
These pictures make me wish that I was at this show.

Posted by jonlewis on January 25, 2010 at 12:18 PM · Report this
I was at the Josaphine show in Ballard and it was incredible. Buffalo Madonna climbed up the walls to the mezzanine and made a broadway show out of the performance. It felt like gone with the wind or something. That was one of the best shows I've been to, and there were 75+ in the crowd, which is a lot for the size of the venue. I remember having to wash my clothes as soon as I got home because the audience was in such a frenzy it was raining beer from their tall boys at times. That show was super dope.
Posted by Lok-dogg on January 26, 2010 at 4:15 PM · Report this
Mad Rad is cliche and they have a very succesful gimmick. White, nerdy, party music makers who have the "bad boy" appeal. They are like the Andrew W.K. of hip hop.

The reason that they are a group deserving of all this press is that they put on a truly good show. They have also mastered the art of "even bad press is good press."

By all of you people getting so worked up about how bad they are you drive a larger interest for people to discover it for themselves. People want to see the "freaks." Thus you spur forth more and more show atendees some of whom get what they're about and actually become fans.

Back to my original point...Adrew W.K. had a few horrid sounding but catchy tunes that made a random douche some major coin, got him a hot wife, and now he hosts a kids tv show about blowing shit up all because of people like you. The antifans...keep it up and Mad Rad will be the biggest thing out of seattle in the past 10 years.

Posted by madRad4pres on April 6, 2010 at 9:07 AM · Report this
I saw Mad Rad in Bend this past May (2011) without ever hearing of them before. I consider myself to be quite educated and open minded about music. They are pretty technically strong their songs. They are not just flimsy, shallow works,they have depth and consideration. The venue they played at was very small, only about 30 people, but they played entirely for themselves. They had that place rockin' like I have never seen before. I was so impressed I bought their CD, The Youth Die Young, on the spot. I listen to it often and get the songs stuck in my head - which is actually why I found this blog. I was looking for a video of the song I want to listen to, which there is no good recording of. C'est la vie.
Posted by thejokeisonus on July 16, 2011 at 2:15 AM · Report this

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