Lupe Fiasco brings “Laser” show to House of Blues

A review of Lupe Fiasco at the House of Blues on Monday September 12, 2011

, Managing Editor

Chicago MC Lupe Fiasco certainly fits the criteria of a renaissance man. He raps, produces, runs a label, dabbles in everything from skateboarding to politics and even leads humanitarian efforts as well. Between all this Lupe has found time for a tour he’s named “Generation Laser’ after his #1 album Lasers, which stopped off at Boston’s House of Blues on Monday.

Like his lifestyle, Fiasco’s music and performance are defined by eclecticism as well. Not only does he tour with a live band rather than a DJ like most rappers do, but he’s probably the only MC you’ll see with a violinist in his band (Berklee grad Ashanti Floyd). His show started out more like a rock show than hip hop with the band blasting through the powerful “Words I Never Said” as Fiasco banged his head and played air guitar while singer Sarah Green took the vocals on Skylar Grey’s catchy chorus. With a post-punk side project called Japanese Cartoon, Fiasco is no stranger to rock and he used this side of him to fuel the excitement for the first leg of the show with amped up tracks like “State Run Radio”, “Go Go Gadget Flow” and his verse from N.E.R.D.’s “Everyone Nose”.

In the middle of the set, Fiasco slowed things down and got into a groove with his more R&B-flavored raps like “Till I Get There”, first single “Kick, Push” and “Paris, Tokyo”. The rapper kicked things back up with hit single “Out of My Head”, although the hook suffered with the backup singers replacing Trey Songz’s vocals. He threw new track “Scream” into the mix, hoping to build energy by telling fans to scream every time he said the word, but the song didn’t really deserve it until the rocking instrumental finish that had fans bouncing.

Fiasco is an artist who speaks his mind freely, but he mostly kept quiet until he took timeout to pay tribute to the 9/11 victims before “Never Forget You”. What started as a tribute quickly turned political as he once again expressed some of the views that he’s taken some heat for recently. He got mixed reactions from the blue state crowd with comments like “Obama is a terrorist” and “Bill O’Reilly can kiss my black ass”.

The show wrapped up nicely with some of Fiasco’s biggest hits bringing it to a close. He fooled around with some fans up front after “Superstar”, making fans wait a bit for mega-hit “The Show Goes On”, but it was worth the wait as the Lasers lead single matched up with fellow single “I Don’t Wanna Care Right Now” for an energetic finish, capped off by a Boston-themed freestyle and dance party-spawning instrumentation.

Although he went through troubles with his record label to get Lasers released, with his recent string of success (despite his controversial political views), if Lupe can keep up the good work he showed in Boston he shouldn’t have any trouble getting the next one out there.

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