Spankmaster and Servant

On the psycho/genius double helix and XXX appeal of Kool Keith

Two days later the Bowery Ballroom hosts a significantly more professional troupe: the Dears, ludicrously melodramatic Canadian indie rockers led by goth-operatic frontman Murray Lightburn (pffft), himself a nonwhite in a sea of "Brandy (You're a Fine Girl)"–lovin' whiteness ("This one's for the honkies," goes a rare bit of stage banter), battering us with arena-caliber light & sound & earnestness. Outstanding. ce." During the encore Lightburn (pffft) boasts that "We aren't hidin' shit," playing up his band's guileless, bleeding-heart honesty and chanting "We love you we love you we love you we love you" for 45 seconds or so. I'm increasingly fond of his band, but I don't believe him. I believe, however, that Kool Keith partakes of Yoo-Hoo before putting pen to paper and getting in they asses. Thus is the nature of showbiz. The sensitive, stylish rockers rip their hearts out, but we react with disbelief we're willing to suspend for a possibly mental rapper with too many aliases and backstories to count, onstage talking dirty and flinging underwear into the crowd, swaddled in a cape and a dog cone collar, concealed in costume. We just know he still ain't hidin' shit.

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