Oregon Music News: Oregon’s all-genre music magazine since 2009

Photo by Eric Woodall
Photo by Eric Woodall
10/29/2018

Four Fists at Doug Fir Lounge, Portland on 10/23/18 Review

By C. FRANCIS O'LEARY // Four Fists Punk-Rap fed the excitement in the room which grew before and throughout the show until there were times it threatened to explode into a mosh pit. Joe Strummer and Sid Vicious, both of whom are name-dropped on tracks, would have been proud of the excitement in the room.

“I want a riot, white riot riot right in front my home!”  Four Fists screamed into their mics with sweat flying off of their brows and the veins bulging out of their necks. Songs like these, demanding a response to not only the evils of racist cops and NSA phone taps, but also apathy and inaction of well-meaning Do-Nothings, are worthy successors to The Clash’s original “White Riot” of 1977.  

The crowd was feeding off of the energy both halves of Four Fists were putting out, and the band was taking it right back.

Consisting of Andy Bothwell (Astronautalis) and Stef Alexander (P.O.S), Four Fists is a punk-influenced rap-duo based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. After many collaborations in their solo careers and five years after releasing an EP together, the pair finally released their first LP, titled 6666, on 10/12. The album vacillates between heartfelt songs about growing older and having to reevaluate your life, to songs, such as the above, referencing punk legends with their calls for social change, to fun dance songs with lines cracking jokes about LeBron James’ receding hairline.

Walking into a Four Fists show without knowing of the group, it would have been hard to guess what type of music one should expect to hear. Owing to the fact that the two both have roots in punk but grew up to become rappers, a member of the crowd may be wearing a studded vest over a Wu Wear t-shirt.  The excitement in the room grew before and throughout the show until there were times it threatened to explode into a mosh pit. Joe Strummer and Sid Vicious, both of whom are name-dropped on tracks, would have been proud of the excitement in the room.

When Four Fists took the stage, the floor was already packed in anticipation. After opening up with a few big dance numbers, the mood changed as the musicians transitioned into performing a few of the more somber songs from 6666 as well as collaborations they had previously released. Reading the mood in the room after completing their last slow song, Astronautalis addressed the crowd, showing great charisma. “Okay, we just did a bunch of sad songs, but now we’re all going to dance and sing along and have fun together.” Later he continued with, “If you don’t know the words its fine, just yell something when we get to the chorus.”

Toward the end of the evening, the two cited the “Doomtree no-encores rule,” referencing another rap collective P.O.S is part of, saying “that’s the end of ‘the set’, but we’re going to play two more and then come hang out with you all;” rather than go through the theater of leaving stage, waiting a few minutes, and coming back, the two DIY artists would rather spend the time engaging with their fans personally. After those last two songs, the two did exactly that, spending the rest of the evening listening to stories about the first time someone had seen them play, signing shirts, CDs, etc., posing for photos, being shown tattoos inspired by their works, and so on.

Accompanying Four Fists on the 6666 tour is Angel Davanport. Originally from Chicago but currently rapping out of Minneapolis, rap fans may recognize her from her work (under the name Angelenah) on P.O.S’s song from his Chill, Dummy, released Jan. 2017. Angel released her first solo EP, Sore but Grateful, on 10/16, a few days after the start of the tour. Often bragging (see song: My Pussy Jesus), often funny (see same song), Angel is an excellent complement to Four Fists’ tour.

Anyone looking for more info on Four Fists can read this preview to the show here and see Eric Woodall's concert photos here...or follow them collectively at @fourfists6666 or P.O.S at @YEAHRIGHTPOS and Astronautalis at @astronautalis on Twitter and Instagram. 6666 can be found in record stores and on all streaming services.

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