SXSW showcase reviews
Reviewed by Chase Hoffberger, Fri., March 18, 2011
Blu/ShadVenue 222, Friday, March 18
Holy crap, Blu. Drink a coffee or something. Have a water. Stop hitting marijuana-related products two or three hours before your set. Whatever happened last night between 9:45 and 10:15 was hardly a show; it was a dribbling, a time warp in which zero hooks were sung, few words were rapped with any decipherable clarity, and even fewer hands were clapped at the set. It was hard to tell if Blu even noticed. He certainly didn't realize that his microphone was wired through a bass line, a misconnect that Venue 222's sound man said contributed at least somewhat to the muffled vocals. Shad was more commendable. Rushed because of the showcase's hour-late start, the Toronto native didn't dig too far into his three-album catalog but managed to pull out the summer soul of fan favorite "Rose Garden" before a well-received freestyle over TLC's "Creep" ("I don't really have many tracks for the ladies, but I do have this") and Black Star's "Definition." Bare-bones with nothing but DJ Tilo, Shad and his lighthearted mood could've served as the perfect lead-in to Blu's usually charismastic flow, but only one MC decided to show up.