Immortal Technique before Rock the Bells

Immortal Technique: “I’ll leave you fulla clips, like the moon blocking the sun.”

Immortal Technique: “I’ll leave you fulla clips, like the moon blocking the sun.”

Photo By Josh Fernandez

When a club is overheated and packed with sweaty-ass fools, there’s never a shortage of girls who think you’re trying to feel on their asses. It’s like the rhythmless bro who thinks it necessary to dance or the bouncer with self-esteem issues—some things just go with the territory.

“Can you stop touching me?” said the girl in the camouflage hat at Immortal Technique’s pre-Rock the Bells performance at The Boardwalk in Orangevale last Friday.

“Believe me, I’m not trying to.”

“You’re rubbing on me and my friend,” she replied with that sideways look only a mother could love.

Seriously, lady, if I was trying to practice frottage, I’d find a girl who wasn’t riddled with bullet wounds. Thanks.

I’ll give you this, though: It was sweltering, and I wouldn’t want to be touched by me, either. Fans were leaking from their pores like maquiladoras. But the energy of anticipation hovered above the room, as unmistakable as the cloud of herb smoke.

Yes, I was two hours late and missed most of the opening acts, but I still had a few minutes until Immortal Technique—the hardest emcee since Jesus. It seems like only an instant before he runs to the stage and we’re barraged with a flurry of beats, lyrics and aggression; Tech rips through songs, like the politically charged “Bin Laden” and “Lick Shots,” pausing briefly to inform us to support our local, independent artists (with a shout-out to Sacramento’s Mahtie Bush).

The highlight of the show was Tech’s performance of “Dance With the Devil,” which documents one man’s story from the gutter to street fame by way of rape and brutality. Tech’s ability to act out a song, pinpointing emotion and turning it into a riveting Broadway show is why he’s becoming the bar setter for hip-hop performance.

It’s important to note that Tech, an Afro-Peruvian, isn’t out solely to shock or to shit on American policy. His show, no matter who you are, is like a sanctuary for the historically underrepresented.

The Tech show represented unity, scuffed Nikes, blood and sweat, nasty raps, deejays skipping the needle, white dudes with bad breath, overpriced beer, pumping fists, righteousness, cultural pride, anti-police mentality, shoddy microphones and, fuck it, even temperamental chicks with camo hats.

And it was proof positive that hip-hop is alive and kicking.