Outside the walls of Santos Party House (QRO venue review) on Friday, November 4th, crowds of people were lined up wearing black and steel accessories, jumping in place out of excitement or from the plummeting temperatures in New York City. They were in line to see hardcore veterans Agnostic Front tear it up. From the sound of it, their openers are doing just fine.
But I’m not there for the Agnostic Front show. I politely break through the line and make it to Santos’ basement section – appropriately called ‘The South Pole’. An Agnostic Front fan is overheard commenting how the [Agnostic Front] show will be the best ever. But the show we’re about to see will be much better – Jacksonville, FL indie rapper Astronautalis.
Andrew Bothwell opened up with "The River, The Woods" from the newest release, This Is Our Science. He performed the first track as if it was the final song of an encore – Bothwell was dripping in sweat, smiling at the intimate crowd. Other notable tracks include "Thomas Jefferson", "Contrails" and "Secrets On Our Lips".
Where Astronautalis really shines – besides a fast rhythm and style not heard of since "Overnight Celebrity" – is in his freestyle. Close to the end of each performance, he asks the crowd for a list of people, places, inanimate objects and even current events. With about six to eight, he creates a freestyle rhyme that links everything together. For the Santos performance, he was able to create a powerful freestyle using terms like "Thor," "Kim Kardashian’s divorce," and "Herman Cain."
Immediately following the set, he jumped off stage to talk to everyone in the crowd. He referred to every fan on a first-name basis, remembered old fans from shows prior and even hung around to sign autographs as the venue started to shut its doors.