Sunday, December 10, 2023

Ramy Youssef: More Feelings @ BAM Howard Gilman Opera House (December 8, 2023)

For the second straight year, Franny surprised me with tickets to a comedy show for my birthday. And once again the show was straight fire. This time it was to see Ramy Youssef, whose TV show Ramy we had enjoyed together. This show/tour, "More Feelings" was a follow-up to his first comedy special "Feelings" (which neither of us had seen until after we saw this show). Like the TV show, the comedy show centered around his experience as an Arab American and practicing Muslim. The recent war between Israel and Hamas provided further inspiration for the new material. As I mentioned before, the show was great; his jokes were funny, and he has mastered his style of delivery even more since the first special.

A couple of additional noteworthy tidbits... His disabled friend Steve, whom we knew from a recurring appearance on the TV show, was the opening act - a pleasant surprise for us. There was also a point during Steve's act where he was describing the concept of "inspiration porn" from a disabled perspective, and asked for audience members to yell out someone who inspires them. On the second asking Fran shouted "my husband", to which I was immediately embarrassed (kinda like when she tries to start the clap after a plane lands). Thankfully Steve's on-stage reply of "Somebody hasn't been f*cked in a while" helped relieve the awkwardness. 😅

Lastly, this performance was a no-phones show (they locked up audience member phones in little bags that they unlocked afterward), so I didn't get a picture.

Saturday, October 14, 2023

Kid Cudi @ Kings Theatre (October 13, 2023)

This show was billed as "Kid Cudi Presents: Cudder’s Clubhouse", an intimate and experimental performance for the fans before he goes on a legitimate tour next year. This was one of a few hastily arranged concerts (the announcement and on-sale were the week before the first show) where Cudi would go deep into his catalog, playing some songs for the first time in a while, or ever.

One particularly novel aspect of the performance is that he set up the stage like a living room of sorts, where he eventually hosted 6 fans from the crowd. He stopped at 3 different points during the performance to select the guests based on their energy and enthusiasm. He treated them to booze and weed that was set out on the table; and of course he also partook in the goodies.

The show was very interactive with the rest of the crowd as well. He paused after just about every song to introduce the next one, or tell an anecdote, or explain how he's finally happy in life, or gush about his special guest Chip tha Ripper, or gush about how great his forthcoming album INSANO will be.

Speaking of the new album, he played 3 new songs from it, and I have to agree that they were all bangers. The setlist from the show should be here, but has not been filled in at the time of publication; but the one from the first clubhouse show seems pretty similar (though longer), so you can get an idea of what he played. Some of the songs were only partially performed, so he went through more than would be played in a typical show. He included a few songs from his WZRD and Kids See Ghosts collaborations. Unfortunately I can't say that I'm a fan of most of his rock material. But the rest of it was pretty good. I suspect that I would have preferred a standard Cudi show with a more crowd-pleasing setlist, but it was still nice to hear some deep cuts (some of which I was not up to speed with); "Balmain Jeans" was a highlight for both me and Fran. I also appreciated his showmanship and smooth dance moves on the stage. Overall a solid show which Fran enjoyed as well.


Rating: 4.0/5

Thursday, October 05, 2023

Explosions in the Sky @ Kings Theatre (October 5, 2023)

I think this was my first proper Explosions in the Sky show; of the couple of times I can remember seeing them before, I think one was a festival set, and the other time I missed a significant portion of their performance. It was a nice and efficient 1.5 hour set with no encore. The light design was interesting (though unspectacular) - the illumination came almost entirely from the floor; and there was a lot of fog. In terms of music, they threw in plenty of classics alongside a couple of new cuts (see the setlist here). While my favorite songs of theirs are typically from the early part of their catalog, "It's Never Going to Stop" from the new album (End, which is actually pretty solid) was an unexpected highlight; it had a unique feel compared to their typical fare, and was interesting to see played live. If I could have made any changes, I would have swapped out "Loved Ones" for "Ten Billion People" (both from the new album). In any case, I'm still quite impressed by how cleanly they play their tunes. Strong work from the boys from Texas.


Rating: 4.4/5