Since striking gold in 2014 with his hit song “Wrist.” Atlanta rapper, Father and his collective, Awful Records, have been putting out a solid stream of content and gaining a very loyal cult following. May 28 found Father and four of his Awful cohorts –LuiDiamonds, Keith Charles SpaceBar (KCSB), Abra, and Lord Narf –playing a show at Peter’s Room, a smaller venue located on the ground level of Portland’s Roseland Theater.
Father was at the same venue last August and the differences in that show and the one on Saturday paint a telling picture of an artist with a fanbase in decline.
The August show was packed, the mosh pit was unabating, sweat bled from the walls, a real consummate underground rap show. On May 28 the venue was about half full, 150 people give or take. LuiDiamonds opened, backed by KCSB on the DJ laptop; but it could probably be said that the last minutes of the Warriors vs. Thunder game being shown on the bar TV in the back were more enthralling than his performance.
The most noticeable thing about the show was its conciseness, it was billed to start at 8:00 and it ended around 9:40. There were no obnoxious gaps between sets, no calls from some local DJ to, “Yell as loud as you can if you want to see Father.” It was a refreshing break from the status-quo at rap shows, but at the same time it felt like an affront to tradition. Not that most of the show goers would have had much of a sense of tradition.
The median age at the August show was 20, young, but to be expected. The May 28 show median age was closer to around 16, and for many of them this could have plausibly been their first show experience. This includes the dozens of 16-year-old girls up front who would reach out to Father and stroke his stomach like nymphet sirens of the sweaty sea; maybe the concentration of high school girls was why there were no moshing this time around.
In general things were low energy unless Father played some of his bigger hits like, “Wrist” or “Everybody In The Club Gettin Shot.” And even then it was prompted by KCSB throwing water into the crowd or jumping around on stage. At its apex the most wild the crowd got was some rowdy bouncing, just think “8 Mile.”
A standout moment came during the chorus of “Why Don’t U”, with Abra on vocals chanting, “Why don’t you love me, Daddy?” Looking around at the crowd chanting back, it was the most Lolita-esque moment of maybe any show ever.
This didn't go unnoticed by the performers. At one point, Lord Narf told the crowd, “Wow ya’ll really need to turn up a little more.” Father seemed to expect this energy level at this point though, just replying. “Nah, ya’ll are lit, I feel it.”
Weirdly enough the energy level actually seemed to increase after Father left the stage. During his last song some girls of questionable age jumped on stage and started dancing; the security guy was either asleep or going to the bathroom because by the end of his last song there were about eight of these girls on stage.
Father said goodbye and walked off stage, then things got out of hand pretty quickly; in the blink of an eye half the crowd was on stage surrounding KCSB, who had gone from show DJ to party DJ in the span of about 30 seconds and was loving it. Imagine the most salacious Sadie Hawkins dance of all time.
With all the young girls on stage, a mosh pit did actually start back on the floor; it was easily the most rowdy the atmosphere had been all night.
And it all happened while Father was already relaxing in the tour bus.