The Rhapsody

Before I moved to Burlington, I was sure that the closest I’d get to a hip hop concert was the 2.5 minutes I heard Justin Timberlake beatbox in the middle of a sorry Beatles medley at that one N’Sync conÂcert I went to way back in the day. Aside from the fact that Smash Mouth opened, this show really wasn’t that good.

This was New York City. I should have known that once I actually left the Tri-State area and headed for Vermont (of all places!) that I would attend a show on the complete opposite end of the music spectrum from my evening with N’Sync.

This is not a review of either of the Wu-Tang Clan’s shows at Higher Ground last week.

Whether or not we (we meaning you and I) stay in Burlington after our respective graduation days, for the time being we are living in the biggest city in the nation’s second whitest state. Racial diversity? Not so much.

But, in terms of what’s popular in the cultural sphere around Burlington, the list is almost unspeakably diverse.

For example, this New York-based hip hop group called The Wu-Tang Clan schedules a show at Higher Ground and in just a few weeks its sold out and they schedule a second performance – which also sells out.

That’s because Burlington knows good music; Burlington knows good art – and what’s more is that this city knows all different kinds of both. In the next few weeks we’ve got everything from Ani Difranco to Keller Williams to Bone Thugs N Harmony to that Iron MaidÂen tribute band oh-so cleverly named Made in Iron.

Standing in the Higher Ground Ballroom last Tuesday night, I was crammed between a kid in a North Face down vest and a girl in a cutesy, frilly green shirt. Along with the rest of the crowd, these Wu fans were throwing up their middle fingers as Method Man moved from bar top to crowd surfing and encouraged an intense round of “fuck yous!” The scene seemed ironic to me in the beginning – for, admittedly, stereotypical reasons.

So, this is the first piece in my column reflecting upon different aspects of popular culture – whether conducive to Burlington or on a broader scale.

Thanks to Wu-Tang for their inspiration.