Scenes From Saturday Night's Sold-Out Astronautalis Show a Three Links.
Here's an undeniable truth: At this point, an Astronautalis show in Dallas really doesn't have to be all that great to be well-received.
Nope, Dallas' love for the Southern Methodist University-educated rapper born Andy Bothwell is rather unconditional. Dude could just hang out on a stage and riff about Taco Bueno for two-plus hours if he wanted. His audience would still almost certainly uproariously approve of it all.
And while that's not quite how things played out as Astronautalis headlined a sold-out show at Three Links that also featured locals Booty Fade and Playdough on Saturday night, it's really not that far off, either. Because the rapper did indeed rave for a spell about Taco Bueno's admirable-in-his-eyes attributes — “It's a goddamn national treasure!” he said while specifically extolling the virtues of the chain's chicken potato burrito and railing against the supposed charms of the “invasive species” that is In-N-Out Burger. But he only did so for about five minutes, to be fair.
The rest of his show, aside from the expected freestyle-on-crowd-suggested-topics sojourn, largely focused on what this crowd wanted to hear (such as “Thomas Jefferson” and “Dimitri Mendeleev” from 2011's This Is Our Science) and what Bothwell just simply needed to get done at this concert. The latter was the whole point of this show, really: Bothwell's been in town putting the finishing touches on his new LP, his first solo release in four years, with Oak Cliff-based producer extraordinaire John Conlgeton (St. Vincent, Swans); this gig gave the rapper a chance to workshop some of these new cuts in front of a room.
And this crowd was all to pleased to serve as Bothwell's test subjects — particularly when it came to the faster, more bass-heavy and dare we say more ratchet new material, which was lapped up rather. And, yes, gleefully at that. They minded not that this was just Bothwell, some tracks and a mic. Actually, they might've preferred the lack of distractions.
Do you seriously need another example of how on-his-side this Astronautalis crowd was? OK, here you go: When soliciting freestyle topics from his audience, one superfan even went so far as to suggest Bothwell's mother's dog, Duff. (Astronautalis reluctantly obliged and incorporated that topic among others — including the Dallas Cowboys, duh, we're so predictable — in his 15-minute soliloquy.)
My point: The show was lots of fun and filled with palpable, amiable energy; but there was also no way that it wasn't going to be. The whole thing was a big hug between artist and audience; I mean, there's a reason why the glass garage door of the venue was fully steamed up by the end of night.
And it wasn't because of Taco Bueno. Turns out Dallas loves more than just fast food — go figure.