La Mala Rodriguez at Crescent Ballroom, 7/8/12

La Mala Rodriguez Crescent Ballroom Sunday, July 8, 2012

See also: Spanish Rapper La Mala Rodriguez to Bring Flamenco-Infused Hip-Hop to Crescent

Spanish emcee La Mala Rodriguez lived up to her promise of an emotional and powerful showing at the Crescent Ballroom with jamming grooves, little clothing, and an unrelenting lyrical flow.

Using a combination of recorded rhythms, supplemented with a live drummer, and a funky bass player, the Cadiz, Spain-native showed off her distinctly gruff vocal timbre with a sustained, angry attack. "The Bad One" came out to loud chants of, "Mala," and quickly commanded attention with her striking physique and barely-there ensemble.

Rodriguez showed up to the Sunday show appropriately dressed to handle the summer heat wearing only a black corset complete with shiny buckles and leather straps, matching panties, garter belt, and high heels. Her two-piece backing band wore more conventional get-ups, rocking a tank top and basketball jersey.

While I'm sure the sultry dance moves and revealing outfit are an unabashed attempt at sex appeal, it played more like a move for girl power once she got going.

Touring in support of her 2010 release, Dirty Bailarina, Mala opened the show with her controversial 2003 track about a "strapped" drug dealing girl, "La Niña." The song set the funky tone of the evening with a treatment of Mtume's "Juicy Fruit" melody. Following up with the Latin Grammy winning "No Pidas Perdón" really got the crowd jumping.

Her growls in "Tengo un Trato" showed her old school/underground hip-hop chops, but she really excelled in her flamenco cadence and edgy lyrics during songs like "La Cocinera," where she sang: "Soy la cocinera de tus mejores platos, deja que te empape con lo que yo me empapo."

Rodriguez's lyrical command and stage presence reflected the fact that although she may not look it, she's been in the rap game for some time now. She controlled the evening's tempo easily, ramping up the energy when she pleased with gritty hooks and nasty snarls.

Throughout her near hour-and-a-half set she yucked it up with fans that crowded the stage directing chorus chants and expressing gratitude for all the love. At the start of "Tambalea" she invited all the ladies in the crowd to join her on stage, but made it clear right away that it wasn't for a photo op.

She made sure she sent off the late-night concertgoers with a buzz closing a two-song encore with the head-banger "Galaxias Cercanas."

Critic's Notebook:

Last Night: La Mala Rodriguez at Crescent . The Crowd: A good mix of hip-hop heads and Latin-lovers.

Random Notebook Dump: You know what dude, you can go wrong elbows up, side to side.

Random Notebook Dump Part Deux: What was up with the kid jumping up on stage not once, but twice, to collect the band's towels and empty water bottles?

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