It was obvious when the opening act, Roanoke's own Kuntry, had the crowds' hands up early that last night's performance at Mill Mountain Theatre would be a great one. When El Prezidino took the stage, the crowd was pumped — and so was Dino.
Before Dino's second song was finished, the crowd was out of its seats and dancing down in front of the stage, and everyone sang along when Dino performed "Good Morning America." As hip-hop's righteous superhero continued the show, all while wearing his signature sunglasses, he even gave the audience a preview of some new tracks that others might not hear for months until the next album releases.
One such song was "Monster," where Dino declares, "I'm a lyrical monster." He does indeed have talent with lyrics that mean a lot to the primary age group in attendance. In "Monster," for example, there are cultural references relevant to the 20-somethings of today who remember "Saved by the Bell." Dino gets big points for the line, "...call Egon, someone call Ghostbusters." This is connecting with an audience in the best way, and the beats and rhymes just make Dino's music so fun to listen to. In his own words, "Hip-hop ain't dead, hip-hop is Lazarus."
Perhaps the coolest thing about Dino is his conversational, extemporaneous style with the audience. Consider Dino the most down-home celebrity you've ever met. He actually asked the audience for feedback about his songs and was very humble, thanking the audience multiple times for their attendance. With Dino, it's the complete package — an edgy rapper with a heart of gold.
Dino finished up the night with a performance of "I Just Died in Your Arms," which made for a strong ending, getting the crowd clapping (over-the-head style), singing along and bouncing to the beat. The perfect ending to an energetic, genuine performance.
So if you have the chance to catch Dino in concert anytime soon, I recommend you do so. Leaving the opportunity to see Dino would be something like, to quote from a Dino song, "...like leavin' a Lexus for a Big Wheel."
El Prezidino's next performance will take place at 10 p.m. at Roanoke College, Nov. 14, 2008. Don't miss it! Check him out on MySpace, at his own Web site, on CD Baby, and don't forget to read his album review here on Relatively Journalizing.