Detroit- and Chicago-based rap duo, The Cool Kids descended on Oakland “The Town” California this weekend to unveil the live rendition of their recently released When Fish Ride Bicycles, the latest installment of the Kids’ professed love for cars, bikes, women, a particular herb, breakfast cereal and all things comfort.
A young, supportive crowd turned out early at the New Parish, an intimate venue in a city known for its broad and often raucous fandom. Setting the mood was overlord of the discs DJ Jack (isback), an O-town local and personal man on the steel wheels for opening act Regland, who kept it clean and posi, dedicating his set to setting the party vibe—even keeping an upbeat spin on a track for his late auntie and godmother.
Also from Oakland, Nio The Gift capped off the warm-up with a grittier and tougher approach, but balanced his act with a remarkable ability to croon with a tenor voice that could kick an auto-tuner’s nuts in. At one remarkable moment, Nio engaged the crowd in a call-and-respond: “If you hate haters put your middle finger in the sky and say FUCK YOU HATER!” Good release.
Finally the moment arrived. The crowd packed up to the stage in a hyped rage and out came three cool kids (they have a DJ too, ya know). Chuck Inglish, the unabashedly chubbier half of the duo, and the lanky, ear-to-ear smiling Michael “Mickey” Rocks finished each others’ lines as they jammed through a few well-known classics to further fuel the fired-up frenzy before them.
The Kids made quick work of jingling, A Little Bit Cooler and Gold and a Pager—three familiar tracks from their debut LP The Bake Sale before delving into the new stuff. Hands stayed in the air, be they pumping fists or snapping flicks as the boys went into their When Fish… material with GMC, and from there led the unwavering mass through most (if not all) of the new album.
Not only the Cool Kids put on a seamlessly awesome set from beginning to end on this beautiful night in downtown Oakland; the entire show had a receptive warmth and intimacy that this city’s reputation has more often than not seemed to prove impossible. From the star-dotted sky visible from the venue’s out-door smoking area to the security to the stranger-to-stranger crowd interactions to the real love issued to and from the performers, this was an eye-opening and awesome night in The Town where hip-hop should—and will—persevere.
The Cool Kids perform at the Fox Theater in Boulder Tuesday, August 2, continuing with tour dates that include Lollapalooza and the Brooklyn Bowl.