Show Review: Lil Dicky @ Brighton Music Hall 2.22.14
by David Murphy (Psychology), published February 27th 2014
A scraggly, sweatpant-clad white dude peeked out from the upstairs greenroom of the Brighton Music Hall on an uncharacteristically vernal February evening. “There’s a lot of people out there” he remarked, looking out at the packed crowd that had sold out the BMH for what would be his third live show ever. The uninformed onlooker might be confused by the sight of the jewfro-ed Dave Burd, A.K.A. Lil Dicky, and could assume that the actual rapper of the night was in the bathroom or perhaps off somewhere attending to a felony. Yet this misunderstanding is exactly what fuels Lil Dicky’s career and what makes him an especially dynamic newcomer to the rap game.
Nine months ago Lil Dicky released his debut mixtape So Hard. Now, accompanied by the success of a $100,000+ Kickstarter campaign to support a tour and EP as well as the viral music video for his song “Ex-Boyfriend,” he is a self-made rising star, and a product of the power of online social interconnectivity.
A Lil Dicky show doesn’t play out so much like a normal rap show might. It’s more like a multimedia presentation that features rapping, a format that’s backed up by the fact that after the high-energy opener “Jewish Flow,” Lil Dicky opened up a PowerPoint presentation entitled “’Lil Dicky Show’ by Lil Dicky.” This established the Brighton Music Hall as a “Judgment-Free Zone,” and put his own concert in the 98th percentile of fun shows right behind David Blaine performances. Even the interim between songs was full of speeches and crowd interaction as L.D. took time to point out the benefits of having a bona fide hype-man, describe his lackluster sex life since becoming a rapper, and have the crowd collectively call him a “kike.” The whole show seemed to play out like a 90-minute dream fulfillment session for Lil Dicky, complete with strippers, stage dives, and obligatory hip-hop arm throws from the almost entirely white audience (save the one solitary black man who was pointed out and applauded by Lil Dicky).
While his interludes were entertaining and played to Lil Dicky’s comedic abilities, they often seemed to take the focus away from the music for the sake of comedic bits. Although this lack of synthesis can be chalked up to Lil Dicky’s rookie status, at times the constant transitions between music and monologue disrupted the drive of the show and left it feeling rather disjointed, as if Dicky hadn’t been able to decide where to cut one entertainment for the sake of the other.
Although he makes a point of not being a “comedy rapper,” Lil Dicky is undeniably a very funny guy. His self-deprecating humor came out strong in songs like the thug life fantasy “How Can I Become a Bawlaa” and “White Dude,” which celebrates the joys of being born a white male. Yet his humor never seemed to overshadow his skill, and despite this being only his third live performance ever, Lil Dicky’s personal performance was tight and energetic throughout the entire thirteen-song set (even as the crowd beatboxed to create the backing track for an a capella rendition of “Cypher”). Dicky closed out the show with “Ex-Boyfriend,” featuring a striptease from the unfairly good-looking yet apparently discomforted “ex” from the video that helped launch Lil Dicky to the level of recognition he now enjoys.
For having only two live shows under his belt at the time of his appearance at Brighton Music Hall, Lil Dicky exhibited an incredible degree of showmanship and vigor, and has successfully brought to the stage the musical skill and humor that his “Dickhead” fans have come to cherish. I think we can expect to see much more in the future from the talented Mr. Leftward-Sloping Penis.