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June 10, 2009

Biz Markie: Awesomely bad

biz markieAs promised, I wanted to tell you about Biz Markie's opening set at last night's Beastie Boys concert at Rams Head Live.

In short, it was so bad it was good. 

Biz Markie rolled out onto the stage (when you're as large as he is, you don't walk, you know*) around 8:15 p.m. His mouth hung open the entire time he was on stage.

Maybe he was dumbstruck by the crowd's energy. Or maybe he just needed the oxygen.

Fans of reality TV will remember Markie from his stint on the weight-loss show Celebrity Fit Club. I never saw that season, but I've been told Markie lost a fair amount of weight during his time on the show. I don't know how fat he was before the show, but he's not exactly Mr. Slim these days.

Markie started playing 30-second snippets of songs from the past couple decades. We heard from Bob Marley, Kriss Kross and Suzanne Vega, among others. Between snippets, he would ask, "Ya'll remember that?" He kept saying this over and over.

After a few minutes, Markie had a question for the crowd ...

"Can I play the guitar for y'all?"

Uhh ... yes?

Markie rolled out to the edge of the stage and played air guitar while the bass guitar intro to Michael Jackson's "Beat It" played in the background. It was bizarre.

Finally, near the end of his set, Markie played his hit, "Just a Friend." Or some of it. We got about a minute of Markie singing over the song. Then it was onto another snippet.

I don't know whether technical troubles kept Markie from doing his normal show or if that was his normal show. Some people in the crowd dug it. Others ignored him. I kept giggling at the ridiculousness of it.

Markie redeemed himself later that night with an awesome rendition of "Benny and the Jets" by Elton John. It rocked the house.

*Biz, if you read this, I'm just kidding. We're still buddies, right? (Nervous chuckle.)

(Sun photo by Sarah Kickler Kelber)

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 3:02 PM | | Comments (7)
Categories: Concert reviews, Local music


I kept yelling *PLAY THE SONG...PLAY THE SONG*. I hate when DJ's do that. Bennie and the Jets did kick ass though. And the Beastie Boys crushed it. Love lovel ove me some Mix Master Mike.

Bennie and the Jets rocked!!! So did "The Biz vs. The Nuge" soon as I heard he was opening, I was praying he would do that with the Beasties.

The opening was odd, who knows if it was because he was soooo late or those tech difficulties, but he made up for it later.

Biz was horrible, and not in a good way. I'll agree that "Biz vs. The Nuge" was nice to see live, but Biz' opening set was absolutely horrible.

I forget who said it previously, but it was Bob Marley's "Legend" damn near track for track for 20/30 second slugs to start (horrible), followed by dead-air (you broke DJ rule #1: Never stop the music), followed by a tour through some decent history of hip hop (slightly entertaining).

The problem was how bad it was. To say Biz was mixing would be a disservice to DJ'ing. He was essentially hitting "Track Forward".

His "mix" with the exception of bringing in Black Sheep's "The Choice Is Yours" at the "...engine engine #9" part was pretty much the start of each track. That's not mixing. That's not even cuing.

As for his "scratching", it was Fisher Price's My First Mix at best. He tried to scribble at one point and completely blew his rhythm...on a scribble. No tears, cuts, transforms...nothing.

As for his equipment, he was using Serato and pretty much used it as an iPod. Any tech issues he kept complaining about were configuration issues (e.g. contours), which didn't really appear to be an issue to me. In my opinion, he just didn't have it, for whatever reason. He didn't have it tech-wise and he certainly didn't have any flow to speak of. If your tech isn't working, you've got to pick it up with your flow and song selection. He didn't.

I saw him a few years ago with Doug E. Fresh at Rechter Theater. He did a 40 minute set with a 10 minute medley of his hit (a.k.a. Biz' Baddest Beats) and 30 minutes of DJ'ing. I was disappointed with the 30 mins. of DJ'ing, but at least he was "on" that night.

Biz ALWAYS rocks the mike on Yo Gabba Gabba! so it must have been an off night. A whole herd of 2-3 year olds are now beat boxing due to his greatness.


You can't ALWAYS do something and have an off night. As for that herd of 2-3 years, they may have surpassed "The Master" some time ago given the other postings.

Was he ever as good as GrandMixer D.ST?
He was the guy who did the scratching on Herbie Hancock's hit "Rockit"?
Early Eighties stuff
GrandMixer DST and Herbie Hancock:
Grand Mixer D.ST. - Crazy Cuts:

Biz Markie should perform more in Baltimore. He spends a lot of time in DC, and lives in Laurel, but doesn't do too many shows in Baltimore.

yeah, sounds like he should do more shows period, he needs the practice.

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

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