Oh, Sir Mix-A-Lot. Your arrival into the musical history books, with 1992’s timeless masterpiece “Baby Got Back”, marked the first time I felt it necessary to hide what I was listening to from my parents. My sneaky 10-year-old self procured the cassette single from the mall while Mom wasn’t lookin’, then made sure to blare it out of my speakers at home only while the parents were away.
The irony is that I didn’t even know what the song was all about – I just thought it was hilarious someone was making tons of money and getting all sorts of famous simply because he liked big butts. There were curse words in there, though, and that’s the only reason I thought I should keep my folks from hearing it, lest they snatch it away and ground me or something.
As years passed I was always a little astonished at how “Baby Got Back” never got old. All it took were those infamous catty remarks, “Oh my god, Becky – look at her butt,” before anyone anywhere would burst into song and loudly proclaim the words “my anaconda don’t want nothin’ less you got buns, hun”.
That’s why it’s somewhat sad Sir Mix-A-Lot never got another major hit like it. Yet here we are, 23 years later, still appreciating that song every time it comes on the radio. You can imagine my hyped level of excitement, however, when I learned the Seattle-based musician would be coming to town to perform on none other than Valentine’s Day, with my friend and her band LoveBomb Go-Go opening for him!
It was definitely a curious line-up for V Day at Dante’s, as there was LoveBomb Go-Go, best described as an intergalactic marching band (they seriously are the best – they were a huge hit at Burning Man ’14, and you have got to check out one of their shows sometime!), and Smoochknob, who come off mostly like a power pop-metal group from 1998. I wasn’t too impressed with the latter of the openers, who mostly centered their show around the half-naked dancers they bring with them, but I knew Sir Mix-A-Lot would make up for it. And for the most part, he did.
Sure, the MC seemed a bit sad and tired at the beginning of his set, with a look on his face that seemed to mutter, “Here we go again,” but two or three songs in, he definitely perked up. Sir Mix-A-Lot and his “crew”, which featured a guy spinning beats and two gentlemen backing him up on his rap game, sashayed their way through a bunch of songs I’d never heard, then brought in oldies but goodies “My Hooptie” and “Posse On Broadway”, which really got the crowd amped up. There was also a spot-on throwback with The Sugarhill Gang’s “Apache (Jump On It)”, which the Sir modified to throw in shout-outs to Portland, and the Blazers.
And then the eagerly awaited time had come…sadly, there was no replication of the song’s legendary spoken intro (truly, I had hoped and prayed there would be two snarky chicks onstage to recreate the song’s opening, but alas…my dreams fell short), but as soon as Sir Mix-A-Lot began rapping along to “Baby Got Back”, the crowd went wild. It’s likely anyone in downtown Portland that night was capable of hearing the hundreds of people jammed into Dante’s, loudly singing along to the epic ballad.
To no one’s surprise, ladies got asked to join the melee onstage midway through, and shake what mama gave ’em, and it felt like a solid wrap-up to the Valentine’s Day extravaganza. The only real disappointment was Sir Mix-A-Lot’s choice to remix the song a bit toward its end, which you can see below. And apologies for the short but sweet clip – I was too busy shaking my booty, as instructed, to get fully adequate footage.