I take Lyft a lot, namely because I have horrific night vision and I still get anxiety about driving (maybe it’s because my car was hit four times in the last year by people WHO WON’T STOP TEXTING AND DRIVING). If there is a show at the Monarch, you can especially bet your ass I’m taking a Lyft because I hate one-way streets and trying to find parking downtown. There has only been one time I can think of where I have taken a Lyft and left a poor review afterwards, but it was only because I was fairly certain my driver was drunk or something (he spent the entire time on the freeway swerving between two lanes and making close friends with the drunk bumps before performing an illegal U-turn in downtown Phoenix right outside the Monarch that made me finally decide to just exit the vehicle then and there).
My Lyft driver last Friday, however, was actually a really good driver – she just turned out to be a nuts old lady. After asking what Spooky and I did for a living, she proceeded to tell us that she wrote a book. As an English major and someone who loves to write, I was immediately interested. Admittedly, though, my first completely condescending thought was that she didn’t look like she knew how to write a book and, as I asked her what kind of book it was, I knew what she was going to say before she said it – a trashy romance novel. Of course, this prompted Spooky to ask her what the plot was. Judging from the way she had gone into detail earlier about miniscule events in her life, I knew this was going to be one epically long-winded description that we were going to be stuck listening to for the rest of the ride. And we did. She was still telling us about the story as she pulled up to drop us off and continued to talk as I was trying to desperately escape the car. Spooky managed to snag the title of her book before we left and I made a mental note to check it out later just for fun. I mean, who doesn’t like investigating trashy romance novels written by old people?
Well, I checked it out later and the book did exist – she just wasn’t the one who wrote it. I thought that perhaps she used a pseudonym so her family wouldn’t know that she liked to read porn, but after extensively researching the issue for over an hour after I got home, the lie detector test determined that was a lie. My Lyft driver essentially explained the plot of an entire novel that she had READ, not written, and maybe she just didn’t expect us to actually look it up and catch her in the lie. Honestly, though, it mostly makes me feel bad for her. How sad does your life have to be for you to resort to inserting yourself in elaborate falsehoods? She reminded me of one of my old co-workers who used to lie about basically everything. He once told me all his friends died on a roller coaster ride right after he had decided not to get on it until I casually reminded him that that was the plot of a Final Destination film. He also said he was struck by lightning three times and that his doctor told him he has to smoke cigarettes for the rest of his life or he will die early. Additionally, he used to watch movie trailers on YouTube, pretend he saw the movie in theatres, and then describe the entire film to me and just make up the parts in between that the trailer didn’t explain.
Anyway – I’m starting to sound like my Lyft driver and getting too long-winded, but the moral of the story is that sad, lonely people will lie about basically anything to make themselves feel better and that in itself is sad as well.
Less sad, though, but still just as crazy, was the Emerald Knights 2 Tour. First of all, the openers started out with a bang and I was stoked when Retro Legendz tossed me a free t-shirt with the title of their next album on it called “RTU Saved My Life.” I honestly think it would be really dope if those guys choreographed all of their moves for their performances because they’re so in sync when they perform. Secondly, the Monarch was fairly packed. I almost had to fight some bitches who wouldn’t respect my space and who later decided to unleash a fart that was so god awful that Spooky and I ditched our seats to pop outside for a breather. There are already dozens of hot, sweaty bodies in there lacking proper hygiene practices. Why do you need to add your silent and deadly fart to the mix?
It was a good thing we got up, though, because one thing I’ve noticed about performances at the Monarch is that people seem to scatter themselves on the outside edges to watch instead of getting right up to the front of the stage. When Justus came onstage to debut some new music, I was happy to see him encourage the crowd to come forward and I jumped right up to the front. I have a lot of respect for Justus and everything he does and I have seen him tons of times down at the iKON radio station, but I have never heard any of his music or see him perform. As it turns out, he has amazing stage presence and a natural born ability to command attention. I can see how Respect the Underground has such a large following and why it will continue to succeed far into the future.
Justus also brought Bag of Tricks Cat and Mega Ran to the stage and, man, I don’t know if I can accurately express how much they exceeded my expectations. I go to a lot of shows and I see a lot of different performances ranging from completely terrible to pretty damn good, but “terrible” is the more common occurrence in the music scene, especially hip hop, because everybody seems to want to be a rapper these days. Bag of Tricks Cat and Mega Ran were fucking amazing. There is a livestream recorded by yours truly of nearly the entire set up on the Loco Rundown Facebook page if you want to check it out. While I half expected Bag of Tricks Cat to come out and perform wearing a large cat head and was slightly bummed when he didn’t, my disappointment only lasted a millisecond because both he and Mega Ran commandeered that stage. Both individually and together, their sound and lyrics were on point and they had a ton of energy that got the Monarch shaking – literally shaking, though, to the point where I was fairly certain at some point the floor was just going to collapse beneath us. Hands-down, my favorite part was when Mega Ran asked people to empty their pockets and spit a freestyle about the items they handed him. It was funny, clever, and skillful. It was probably one of the best freestyles I have seen in a hot minute. He managed to come up with lyrics that were both quick, smart, and made people laugh. You can actually probably hear me laughing in the background of the livestream.
I wish I could have followed their tour down to Tucson to see them again, but alas, it was not in the cards. If they do come around to your town, you should really take the opportunity to see them. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. Just bring something neat and unique in your pocket to throw a little challenge Mega Ran’s way.
Don’t forget to check out my other reviews on our site and shoot me a message on Facebook if you want a write-up for your next show!
And remember to keep it winded! (I saw a subtitle on a TV show the other day where a man said, “Keep it one hundred!” but the captioner wrote “Keep it winded!” so I think that’s going to be my new exit phrase.)