After a long week of work, there was certainly nothing better to raise one's spirits than the combination of Bonde de Role and Juiceboxxx. Their high-energy, at times absurd and totally instrument-less performances made for an extremely fun Friday night at the Bottle.
I almost had the opportunity to see Milwaukee rapper/DJ/producer Juiceboxxx a few years ago in Madison, which is funny to me now because he must have been about 17 at that point (his myspace page claims he's 21, which is sort of hard to believe upon seeing him). But he's been plugging away during these past four years, getting enough attention to earn a spot touring the country with Bonde de Role, which isn't half bad for a youngin' from a city not particular known for its music scene. I wasn't sure what to expect from this kid, but I have to say, he knows how to get a crowd going. After watching him crawl behind the curtains lining the back of the stage, he let us listen to the Boss' "Born to Run" in its entirety before bouncing out amongst the streamers and balloons that draped the stage and breaking out some pretty catchy rap. His short set had him running from the stage, through the crowd, onto the amps, all the while leaving those at the front of the stage to untangle themselves from the web his microphone cord was weaving. At one point the members of Bonde de Role were enjoying themselves at the front of the stage, throwing more streamers at Juiceboxxx and generally enhancing the spectacle of it all.
I had been feeling pretty tired before coming to the show, but Juiceboxxx's energy was infectious, and I left his set pretty pumped for the craziness Bonde de Role was sure to bring to the stage. Needless to say, the Brazilians did not disappoint. After taking a good half hour to "set up" (i.e. bring a laptop and some water onto the stage), Rodrigo got behind the computer and MCs Pedro and Marina came on stage, bit into some fake blood capsules and got the show started, their aggressive vocals competing over the baile beats. I'll admit I've never really taken the time to get into Bonde de Role's music, but that certainly wasn't necessary to have a good time; their music was fun and their stage presence spunky, with Marina's legendary raunchy dance moves at the forefront of their antics. I suppose if you don't play any instruments, it's best to have some way of entertaining the crowd, and having Marina grind her head into Pedro's crotch is definitely one way to do that. But while in some cases that might have annoyed me, Marina was so ridiculously adorable that seeing her rip off her shirt while making some of the ugliest faces I've ever seen a woman make was almost a welcome contrast. Several of their songs featured the trio rap/sing/screaming over well-known tracks like "Shook Me All Night Long," "The Final Countdown" and even "Summer Nights" from Grease, which were overall pretty hilarious. Meanwhile, each song also seemed to have some sort of theme, and at one point we were allowed to vote on which we'd want to hear next: the Love Song, the Heavy Metal Song, the 90s Grunge Song (Heavy Metal won, though it was hard to distinguish what made it any more "heavy" than their other songs).
Being in the front row proved to be a bit dangerous, as Marina had a tendency to spit on everyone in front of her; luckily she had poured enough water on herself to wash most of the fake blood out of her mouth first. After a thwarted attempt to get audience members to come on stage and dance, Marina came down into the audience and got her groove on with some of her rabid fans. By the time the encore was over, Marina was soaking wet on the floor and Pedro had drawn real blood after Marina accidently punched him in the mouth while trying to jump him. I think that's a sign of a succesful show. I'll probably never go out and buy a Juiceboxxx or Bonde album, but there's no doubt that they both put on a ridiculously fun show; not a bad way to spend a Friday night, that's for sure.