Skip to content

Concert review: Big Boi and Killer Mike at The Depot

by on May 10, 2013

When Atlanta duo Outkast was at its creative and commercial peak, I attributed much of their music’s freaky fun to Andre 3000, rather than the diminutive other half of the group, Big Boi.

That turned out to be a mistake, given that Big Boi’s solo albums have proven just as fanciful and sonically expansive as anything Outkast ever did together. But my early impression might be a common one, given the disappointing attendance for Thursday’s show featuring Big Boi and his long-time collaborator Killer Mike.

Thankfully, their performances were anything but disappointing. Rather, one of them was often transcendent, while the other was a non-stop, sometimes sloppy party. But you might not have predicted that Killer Mike would be the one to really take the audience for a hip-hop ride we never wanted to end.

Killer Mike is a mountain of a man, and watching him bob and weave, shimmy and shake, during his set was inspiring to say the least. Accompanied only by a DJ, Killer Mike laced his set with political diatribes that never came across as too strident. Rather, he was the preacher and the audience a thrilled congregation as he spit out asides like “I don’t trust the church OR the government,” “Fuck the police!” or “Fuck Ronald Reagan,” a pronouncement he accompanied with samples from the GOP godhead’s speeches that were patently false, ie. “We never sold arms to Iran,” which Killer Mike followed quickly with, “That’s a lie!”


That’s pretty daring stuff to spout in Utah, but the collection of hip-hopheads and hipsters on hand certainly didn’t mind. They were too busy being mesmerized by Killer Mike’s rapid-fire flow on songs like “Untitled,” “Burn,” “Butane (Champion’s Anthem” and “Ric Flair.” At several points, the DJ dropped out of the mix completely, leaving Killer Mike to go a cappella, and those were some genuinely thrilling parts of the show. Eventually, Killer Mike left the stage altogether, joining the audience on the dance floor after tearing into “Southern Fried.”

If some of the folks in the house weren’t familiar with Killer Mike beforehand, they left as new fans for sure. The rapper even gave due props to the front rows of the floor, who largely eschewed the oh-so-annoying phones in favor of pumping their hands in the air.

Killer Mike gave Big Boi a lot to live up to, and while the man DID give a high-energy show that displayed his diverse sonic palette, it didn’t quite hit the mark the same way Killer Mike did.


Joined by a live drummer, guitarist and female backup singer, as well as a DJ and hype man, Big Boi started with a blast through a medley of four Outkast tunes–“Bust,” “ATLiens,” “Skew it on the Bar-B” and “Rosa Parks.” That’s a sure-fire way to get the crowd involved with the show, and they were from the get-go.

From there, Big Boi bounced back and forth between Outkast classics and tunes from his two excellent solo albums, Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty and Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors. “Apple of My Eye” from Vicious was an early highlight, as were “CPU” and the pulsing “Shutterbugg.”

“General Patton” and “Daddy Fat Sax” gave Big Boi’s band a chance to shine, although for much of the night, the DJ was the only music source needed.

Although the Outkast songs were received well by the gyrating crowd in front of the stage, there’s no denying that Big Boi misses his partner Andre 3o00 on those songs, despite the best efforts of everyone on stage. “B.O.B.,” one of Outkast’s best, is still a killer in Big Boi’s solo hands, but it’s not quite up to the original. Same goes for “Ms. Jackson” and “Gangsta Shit,” songs that were abbreviated rather than trying to cover Andre’s parts.

Even so, Big Boi knows how to get a room’s energy way up and keep it there, and he did that no problem on Thursday. Of course, if the room had been more than half-full, we might have been for an even more inviting party. Maybe next time.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: