The Vultures aren’t fucking around here. The local hip-hop collective’s song titles alone (“Bloody Pools,” “Mic Slaughter,” “Bludgeon U to Death”) seem like evidence enough for some pretty serious jail time, and on record, the Vultures play the part of flesh-eating psychos, spitting breathless threat-filled verses over raw, simplistic beats with hardly a hook to be heard. Onstage, though, the Vultures are considerably less intimidating, and not just because the guys are anything but scary in person (with the exception of Richard Gein, who we’ll get to momentarily), looking exactly like the kind of good-natured quiet dudes who used to draw Wu Tang birds on their binders in high school. MCs Ruler Why, Jus the Destroyer, Jamar Equality, Stealth Entity, and Ruin still switch off delivering the rapid-fire and disconcertingly personalized verbal bullying typical of that more menacing Clan (favorite lyrical themes, in no particular order: their desire to kill you, their ability to rap better than you, and their desire/ability to rap so much better than you that it literally kills you), but live, they’re grinning between lines, bouncing to the beat, generally having such a good time performing they can’t be bothered to actually deliver on promises like Ruin’s deep-voiced threat to “Start cracking jaws” and leave you “packed in a pine box, spine popped from fatal blows.” Plus, how scared can you get of a guy who, just moments before, claimed to be a “silent assassin from the Saturn Death Star”?
The better question is, who gives a shit about authenticity? The Vultures’ flow nearly lives up to the hype they give it. They tag team verses without a pause, while the rest of the crew stands back on the sidelines, gulping water. Given the non-stop delivery, you almost expect them to hyperventilate with oxygen like teams playing Mile High Stadium. Then, as the show winds down, Equality complains to Ruler that the set can’t be over because, “We ain’t bludgeoned them yet.”
And that’s the cue for the crew to clear the stage for Gein, a lineman-sized dude (at least in comparison to the other Vultures) who clumsily stalks around the stage in a fanged Halloween mask, completing the Wu-to-horrorcore evolution by linking Gravediggaz to Insane Clown Posse. “I’ll fuckin’ bludgeon you to death,” he growls (and later, during “Werewolves of Bexar County”: “I’ll rip your fuckin’ face off”) and, with his eyes and mouth partially hidden behind that latex monstrosity, he appears kind of serious. Can we get the Star Wars nerds back out here, please?