Saturday, April 10, 2010

"Viva la Revolucion": Immortal Technique at Terrace

Immortal Technique’s concert Thursday night at Terrace Club was nothing short of an apocalypse, when a gathering of Ivy League students suddenly became more like a gathering of insurgents. Tech is a rapper who’s made a name for himself with his sharp wit and fiercely political style. When it was announced that he was coming to Terrace, I expected a show akin to the crowded, woozy atmosphere of GZA’s performance last semester. Though the sheer volume of people may have been matched — and as much as I love the Wu Tang — GZA had nothing on Tech that night.

From his very first lines, Tech spat with meticulous precision and power to the very last syllable. While many rappers falter under the heat and energy of a live performance, Tech amped it up, blending a capella raps with hard DJ beats and call-and-response interaction with the audience.

His proteges, every one of them already hip hop authorities, hyped up the crowd before Tech’s entrance and set the tone for an incredible concert. MCs Diabolic and Akir were particular standouts, echoing Tech’s in-your-face political aggression — “How many of yall hate the fucking government?” Akir even came out wearing an orange polo in anticipation for the Princeton audience. The four preceding rappers did such a good job, in fact, that at the end of their sets everyone was left screaming, and pushing forward onto their toes chanting “Technique! Technique!”

Immortal Technique’s own set was a steady downpour of mind-blowing moments. From chanting “hip hop” to “fuck cops” to spitting thought-provoking rhymes about the government, berating drug use, poverty and suffering, Tech radiated more uncontrollable energy in the span of his set than I have ever witnessed in my life, much less in Princeton. Tech described the atmosphere pretty accurately himself: “This placed is packed like a rush hour train. It is West Indies hot - we’re all losin’ some weight tonight!”

One great moment came after the underground classic “Dance with the Devil” when he addressed the controversial and personal lyrics by telling the crowd that, “this happens every day, in every part of the world, and that’s why I make it personal.”

Best part of the night? Maybe it was the time when he told everyone to give him the finger and chant “Fuck Technique,” or maybe it was his shout “Viva la revolución” followed by the “William Tell Overture” at the end of the night that had everyone dancing into oblivion. Or perhaps his heartfelt call to respect women that made him the most effective spokesperson that SHARE never had.

Ultimately, it’s impossible to choose a single highlight. For me, between straddling a speaker, losing my voice, and being drenched in a mixture of water sprayed from the stage and my own sweat, I’d say this show was downright historical.

-Lisa Han '13

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