UTG EXPERIENCE: RiFF RaFF’s ‘Neon Icon’ Tour (4/21/14)

RiFF RaFF (D. SKANK PHOTOGRAPHY)

It’s almost midnight and RiFF RaFF just exited the stage at Irving Plaza. Blunt smoke is filling the green room as he finishes taking photos with VIP meet and greet winners. Just when he thought it was over, he’s approached by a group of people who didn’t exactly fit the expected demographic for one of his concerts.

“Ya’ll came in here looking like Duck Dynasty,” RiFF RaFF blurts out to the guests. One of them is wearing a NASCAR t-shirt.

What happened next was undeniably the most interesting thing I’ve seen in a while. Last weekend, I watched Chuck Ragan give the boots off his feet to an editor from Noisey in the very same room. This trumped that moment.

Check out below for a review of the show, performance shots, and some photos from backstage.

The leader of the pack (a middle-aged woman) went into full pitch mode. She explained that they were filmmakers who specialized in Viking and alien movies and had driven two hours to meet Mr. Highroller in person. They were serious as a heart attack and told RiFF how they envisioned him in front of their enormous greenscreen. I guess it is true that he “could’ve played for the Vikings,” and he does have an alien tattooed on his arm…

RaFF’s response to the pitch was either rooted in his good character or his genuinely insane personality. He told them he’d be in touch and thanked them for coming out.

In RiFF RaFF’s world, this probably wasn’t too out of the ordinary. He’s taken his eccentric lifestyle and turned it into regularity. It was no surprise that his Husky was sleeping close by and that the first girl to enter the meet and greet was relentlessly calling him “Daddy.” He didn’t mind being called the nickname or autographing fans’ breasts, but he was a little upset he couldn’t find his blueberry bubblegum.


MEET AND GREET

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PERFORMANCE

Aside from the backstage antics, the performance was unlike any other I’d ever seen. RaFF’s set was opened up by Grandtheft, a Fool’s Gold affiliate. He even dropped a track he’d remixed with A-Trak.

By the time RaFF came on, the crowd was ready to go. His banana tank and shorts were perfectly complimented by his kicks. His “codeine berry braids and razzberry swirl hair,” was what really sealed the deal on the wardrobe.

“I’m in East Texas giving Versace swimming lessons,” was my most memorable line of the night as Jody rapped “Suckas Askin Questions.” In collaboration with a whole mess of YouTube sensations and a few tracks off his unreleased Neon Icon record, it made for an energy-packed performance.

While performing “Bird On A Wire,” he brought the beat back to replay Action Bronson’s verse while his entourage danced around holding up enormous cardboard cutouts of RiFF himself, Katy Perry, and “Jody Husky The Neon Puppy.”

For all those who hate on RiFF RaFF and consider him a complete gimmick, I’d be an asshole if I said I didn’t understand. But, at the end of the day you have to take him for what he is. He’s thoroughly entertaining and his live show is no different. The random unorthodox visuals included in the show were an added bonus.

The concept of the “spectacle” in show business is woven into its own fabric. RiFF RaFF takes serious advantage of this staple, setting himself aside from all others in the music industry. For a guy who may appear silly, he seems to take this pretty seriously. His performance was on-point and he sounded damn good. I highly recommend the ‘Neon Icon’ experience to anyone with an open mind.

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Remaining Neon Icon Tour Dates:
April 23 – Philadelphia, PA @ TLA
April 24 – Washington, DC @ The Fillmore
April 25 – Ashville, NC @ USCC Basement
April 27 – Atlanta, GA @ The Loft
April 29 – New Orleans, LA @ House Of Blues
May 1 – Houston, TX @ Warehouse Live
May 2 – Dallas, TX @ Main Street Gardens – JMBLYA
May 3 – New Braunfels, TX @ Whitewater Amphitheatre – JMBLYA
May 5 – Albuquerque, NM @ Sunshine Theatre
May 6 – Phoenix, AZ @ Crescent Ballroom
May 7 – San Diego, CA @ House of Blues
May 8 – Los Angeles, CA @ House of Blues
May 9 – Las Vegas, NV @ House of Blues
May 10 – Orange County, CA @ The Observatory
May 11 – San Francisco, CA @ The Regency
May 12 – Sacramento, CA @ Ace of Spades
May 14 – Seattle, WA @ The Showbox
May 15 – Portland, OR @ Roseland Theatre
May 17 – Salt Lake City, UT @ The Complex
May 19 – Tucson, AZ @ The Rock
May 24 – Detroit, MI @ Hart Plaza – Movement Festival

Photographed by: Derek Scancarelli
Check out D. SKANK PHOTOGRAPHY.

Derek Scancarelli

Derek Scancarelli is a feature writer, interviewer, videographer, photographer, radio-er and more. In 2015, he received his MA in Journalism in New York City. In addition to Under The Gun Review, Derek has worked with Noisey (VICE), Alternative Press, New Noise Magazine and many more. He also pushes some buttons at SiriusXM.

Comedian Jim Norton once called him a serial killer on national radio. Enjoy the internet with him on Twitter.
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