At Wednesday night's SPIN, Tekken 6, and 'Stache Media sponsored CMJ event, virtually every Clipse song ended with a gunshot and/or explosion echoing throughout New York City's Highline Ballroom. And though the sound effects were just theatrical flourishes, they certainly underlined the unnerving power of the Virginia hip-hop vets' live act.
Backed by ominous, bare-bones bass and spooky cyborg squawks, MC duo (and real-life brothers) Pusha T and Malice ran through familiar, crowd-pleasing tracks like "Wamp Wamp (What It Do)" and "What Happened to That Boy" with grinning menace. And though they were ostensibly promoting their third album, Till the Casket Drops (set for release November 10), Clipse mostly performed material from 2006's critical fave Hell Hath No Fury. A highlight was the playfully brutal "Momma I'm So Sorry," in which Pusha T dubs himself a "young Black Socrates" and Malice name-drops Salvador Dali and brags that he's even adored by "Norwegian women."
Pre-show the Virginia duo were found upstairs testing out the new Tekken 6 game in the Tekken 6 gaming lounge. The new video game is due to release next week on October 27th. The bands and VIPs enjoyed complimentary Coors Light as well.
Clipse's rough-edged rumble was perhaps more jarringsince they were preceded by Australian upstarts Temper Trap, whose singer/guitarist Dougy Mandagi may have the most feminine voice in all of rock music. As the band's three guitarists thundered away -- at times recalling the sinister swirl of Mogwai but mostly emulating the Edge's sparkling echo chamber -- Mandagi cooed like a more nasal Marvin Gaye. No matter how impressive the band's more soaring songs ("Sweet Disposition," particularly), it was the frontman's almost theatrical falsetto that left the most lasting impression.