I don’t normally go to live shows. But every now and then you just can’t miss something. In this case, it was Too $hort playing an intimate, sold-out show at 19 Broadway in Fairfax. It’s a great little joint with a bar in front, a bar in back, and a stage and dance floor rather awkwardly placed in the middle. I enthusiastically ordered an old standby and the bartender handed me one of those half-shot glass, half-old-fashioned things with a hefty shot of bourbon, a dash of soda and an odd lack of ice. It was different, but not a bad way to get started.
The bevy of opening acts were decent, if not downright enjoyable. The club was filled with the regular cast of enthusiastic characters. You had the girls dancing in front, the people pushing by every fifteen seconds, the occasional couple pressing up against the wall in an impressive grind. Too $hort and entourage entered at what couldn’t have been earlier than twelve-thirty.
Maybe it was the whiskey listening, but all in all he is truly a great performer. During the first song, some girls got up on stage with him—innocently enough. In my limited experience, this is not at all uncommon in small venue situations, so I gave it no thought at first. As time went on, though, this particularly aggressive redhead seemed to grab $hort’s attention and he ended the third song with melodic chant to the effect of “who’s goin’ down on me tonight?”
After his third song, Mr. $hort and the girl receded to mid-stage behind a couple of other girls and entourage members. Recorded songs played as the redhead proceeded to give him a lap dance. At the height of the onstage sexual tension, Mr. $hort, said floozy, assorted second-string chicks and entourage all exited through the crowd to the VIP space upstairs.
Needless to say, the show was fucking amazing. I know that some of you are thinking a three song performance is a cop-out, a rip-off. But you are clearly missing the point. If Too $hort had played a normal length set, replete with audience banter and shout-outs, and left the stage without having received a public lapdance, or floozies in tow—that would have been the opposite of everything I expected from him, based on his music, and, more importantly, his porn Get In Where You Fit In. I mean, the guy has a PORN that he STARS in!
I just had no idea that anyone could so thoroughly walk the walk. And that like fine wine, Too $hort would only get better with age. Because it certainly seems things have improved since 1992—and for him, at least, pimpin now appears to be quite easy.
Thank you to Trevalyan Markle of Tenet Photography for the great photos