Cut-and-paste artist Rjd2 might just be the hardest-working wax spinner in the DJ biz. At least that's how it looked to the crowd Wednesday at the sold-out Black Cat, but not because he's the speediest record-scratcher. Instead, his frenzied flailing came from a simultaneous command of four interconnected turntables, drum machine/sound sampler and pair of mixers.
For slightly over an hour, Rjd2 hustled through his impassioned instrumentals, smiling like a lottery winner on "Smoke & Mirrors" while slicing up gospel-tinged vocals. The crowd could almost smell fresh cornbread on "Bus Stop Bitties," a disc that features a woman listing mouthwatering soul-food dishes. Though deeply rooted in hip-hop, Rjd2 was as adept at juggling the Cars' "Good Times Roll" as he was with the syncopated drums of Jay-Z's "Jigga What, Jigga Who."
Flexing some showmanship, Rjd2 saved a doozy for the closing number. Just as he shocked folks on his sophomore disc with a pair of bizarre tunes on which he -- gasp! -- actually sings, so he startled this crowd with a live rendition of one of them. "You guys gotta be gentle, though," he pleaded after grabbing an acoustic guitar for the somber electro-pop cover "Making Days Longer." His bare-essentials rendition might have been mediocre, but his sheer nerve led to the night's loudest cheers.
-- Craig Smith