Noisey College Tour splits the difference

Review: Kreayshawn phones it in while Neon Indian brings the heat to Goldstein Auditorium Tuesday night.

The Noisey College Tour show at Goldstein Auditorium last night was composed of two distinct halves. One left me energized, even excited. The other left me questioning drug-testing procedures at Columbia Records.

“I’ve drastically underestimated Justin Bieber.”

This thought rattled around my brain throughout the entirety of Kreayshawn’s opening set. Forty minutes of the viral video-goddess’s flimsy, crotch-grabbing hip-hop made Bieber’s pre-pubescent swoons sound like something off Revolver.

Photo: Zixi Wu
Rapper Natassia Zolot, better known as Kreayshawn, performed at Goldstein Auditorium Tuesday night.

It felt like a raggedy operation right away. Kreayshawn meandered onstage with little energy, lagging behind her thoroughly pumped MC: V-Nasty. The duo, along with their Tyler the Creator look-alike/hype-man, started off with a lackadaisical run-through of “Rich Whore”. Dressed in acid washed jeans, a red tee and black Uggs, Kreayshawn mulled about stage like a smoke-breathing Arby’s cashier.

A few cuts from her album Kittys x Choppas flew by at YouTube pace; absent crowd murmurs punctuated each track. Kreayshawn took these opportunities to sip her Gatorade, mumble about cats, and generally act as though she didn’t want to be there.

“No one use this mic after me,” she said. “I got the swag flu.”

“Bumpin‘ Bumpin’” was an especially low point. V-Nasty and fake Tyler simply out-shouted the lady MC for the majority of her set and here she was nearly inaudible. It didn’t seem to bother her though.

Kreayshawn’s “Gucci Gucci” send-off was as predictable as ever and yes, it is possible to give a substandard performance of this song.

The swag-bearing stagehands, flashy stage lights and a surprisingly impressive DJ couldn’t make up for the White Girl Mob boss’s uncaring ‘tude. Live performances aren’t constructed like a series of web videos and the Oakland-bred MC has yet to learn this.

After the mass exodus following Kreayshawn’s performance, Alan Palomo and Neon Indian took the stage. Palomo proceeded to melt faces and quell any remaining refund requestors.

Mixing tracks from his debut Psychic Chasms and September’s Era Extraña, Palomo buzzed with energy, moving between synth and mic with each pulsating crest and fall. Keyboard player Leanne Macomber and drummer Lars Larsen added a welcome texture to their front man’s electronic tinkering. The energy was immense and 80s nostalgia misted the room in strobing sheets.  

“Future Sick” was the first of many highlights. Palomo’s grainy interludes exploded at each chorus as Larsen boomed away in the background. “Polish Girl” felt immediate. Donning a Julian Casablancas-like denim and leather getup, Palomo flailed and convulsed at the bucking, mid-tempo groove.

Lighting-man Jason Faries’ stage display was perfect. Strobes set Larsen’s kit aglow, neons poured in from the auditorium’s upper levels and a large circuit-board stood at the back of the stage, beating away in luminous flutters.  

After being applauded back onstage for an encore, Neon Indian exploded into “Should Have Taken Acid With You,” adjourning the Noisey College Tour’s stop at Goldstein with a neon-lit symphonic climax.

Kreayshawn had the opportunity to observe an artist at work last nigh. However, I'm inclined to believe she was holed up on the Noisey bus with the swag flu. Where she caught it, nobody knows.

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