In the past, this has allowed for all sorts of loose-cannon moments, from him scaling the second-floor balcony at Glasslands with the guy from WU LYF, to allegedly being escorted offstage at Cameo to keep from further trashing the place. The burden of already having built such a storied stock of live anecdotes in the short time his EPs have been buzzing around the Internet (this one, celebrating its release tonight, only a matter of weeks) is that now he has to live up to it.
He’s upfront about a balcony appearance repeat: “I’m supposed to climb up there,” he says pointing. “But I can’t do that again. So I might start a fire instead.” Fair enough. He already spent the better part of his opening number rapping among the closely huddled crowd, so he opts to pace around the stage now, agitated — like he's going stir crazy with nowhere else to go — wrapping the mic cord around his neck while spitting out the type of lyrics that rhyme “petite” with “tweet.” There are lots more exaggerated statements, jumping into the crowd, and pouting to come during the next 30 minutes. At one point, during the blissful Beatles-borrowing instrumental “Here Comes the Sun,” he leaves the stage as "he's no longer needed here," only to return moments later to pull people up from the crowd to dance. "Get the fuck off the stage, I'm the star of the show" is how he alerts them when it's time to leave. The next song they play is called "B.I.G. E.G.O." This is too perfect.
As a rapper, Laufman isn't exactly Eminem, a go-to reference — the rhymes are generally clumsy and any variation of his voice, at least live, is limited to its volume, but as a sound collagist, the kid can run with Panda Bear and the big boys. The patchworks of synths and samples that he's created balloon into blissed-out pop as easily as they twist into sadistic comedowns and whacked-out dance-a-thons. And as a performer... he's got something special. When he sits on the edge of the stage, pleading with a song's antagonist — "I'd give up the drugs if you stay the night" — you really wish she'd stay. The guy could really use a hug. He's the class clown in school, immune to any real punishment because everyone's glad to have him around for entertainment purposes. He's unmistakingly brash, but has a way of coming off more as a wannabe poet from the wrong side of the tracks than capital-A asshole. "B.I.G. E.G.O." still includes the line "I mean no disrespect," after all. And it's not like Laufman doesn't play it up, to a deliberate, almost comical degree. “I’m going to go backstage, to the VIP area,” he says to conclude the show. We root for him to come back.