Underachievers brings electric set to Madison

The Underachievers performed at the Majestic Thursday night.  

Image By: Eli Radtke

The Majestic was buzzing with electricity Thursday night as the floor slowly filled and bodies writhed with excitement for The Underachievers show. Colorful shirts sporting even more colorful slogans swayed to the beat as shoes tapped and the crowd waited for the set to begin. The lights dimmed and the crowd got loud as Kirk Knight stepped on stage to help open the set. 

With a backdrop collage of different moon pictures, Knight explored the stage and engaged the crowd. Though hesitant at first, after the soft glow of a couple lighters the crowd began to loosen up and enjoy the driving style that Knight brought to the stage. His genuine and energetic performance left the crowd cheering and wanting more as he bequeathed the stage to Pouya and the Buffet Boys.

Taking the stage, Pouya and the Bufffet Boys didn’t waste time laying down more tracks that the audience could jive to. From Florida, this group had an interesting sound that kept the crowd engaged and participating, if nothing else. They relied mostly on noise and head banging and when they signed off it was clear the crowd was ready for the main event. 

The lights dimmed and the level of sound increased exponentially as the projector screen above the stage flickered to life. You could hear AK and Issa Gold’s voices as images of The Underachievers recording flashed across the screen. The two talked to the audience about their musical goals and how they hope to make a change no matter how little it is, as well as where they came from. The screen switched to a logo of The Underachievers and the duo themselves took the stage. 

Smoke machines whirred before the event staff realized there was no need, as the audience prepared their own pungent supplies for the concert. The opening notes to “Philanthropist” began to play and any semblance of calm was lost as the crowd pitched and danced like the sea during a storm. Gold and AK wasted no time with warming up to the venue, they moved around the stage spitting rhymes and moving to the beat as if they had been on that stage their whole lives.

I moved upstairs to get a better view and appreciate the set without being tossed around by the ebb and flow of the crowd. The Underachievers squinted, called for blue lights and smiled when the glow illuminated the stage and then rolled right into another song. Looking down at the crowd from above, it was mesmerizing, like a scene from a zombie movie when massive amounts of people are just writhing together. The floor was one giant mosh pit. This wasn’t the kind of mosh that is frightening or aggressive—if any mosh can be coined unaggressive—but one where people generally looked like they were having a lot of fun getting shoved around. 

The set continued as they ran through some of the more popular hits from their solo work like The Lords of Flatbush, which seemed to be crowd favorites. The music was constant; there was not much time to talk, which was the way that the crowd seemed to enjoy the set. The brief breaks that were taken by The Underachievers between songs were a refreshing chance to see how this dynamic duo was outside of their music. They made witty remarks and sly hints at the next song and kept the crowd wanting more, which The Underachievers were happy to give. 

The energy was already palpable, but when they played “Gold Soul Theory” the energy turned up to a new level. “Herb Shuttles” and other hits followed until The Underachievers raised a peace to the crowd and walked off and roars of appreciation followed them. 

Leaving the Majestic there was a happy glow of exhausted and satisfied fans. I breathed in the cool night air on King Street, the stench of herb and sweat left behind and replaced by blacktop and cigarettes. The Underachievers may have been a long way from New York, but with their electric stage presence and engaging set list, they made everyone feel like they were right at home.  home.  

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