For those unfamiliar, Bacon Shoe is a popular local, absurdist-comedy rap act. Its well-edited DVD contains two chapters: (1) a short film titled Bacon Shoe: The Movie that blends skits and concert footage and (2) a documentary of the group's barnstorming of last year's South By Southwest festival (see the March 23, 2006, Wayward Son). Like Bacon Shoe's upcoming album, Back From Stinktion, the DVD remains unreleased, but I'm hoping that the group will find a local label to put out both in one package.
Because this shit needs to be seen.
For example, whenever the dance moves of the trio's gonzo hype man, 'Toine, are captured in slow motion, I about fall off the couch at the wonder and hilarity. If Ian Curtis had been the father of krump, 'Toine would be his living avatar. In jeans, earflap cap and a running jacket, this honky dances like he's being raped by invisible demons. I'm not sure hip-hop had ever been paired with physical comedy before 'Toine came along.
A clip from the Bacon Shoe DVD:
That's one reason that die-hard hip-hop heads may be offended by Bacon Shoe. To these people I would say: (1) do the lighten up, (2) DJ Sku scratches on the new album, and (3) Tommylift produced a track, to which he also lends a verse. As I see it, this is only good. Let's have future collaborations.
But I'm not here to argue for Bacon Shoe's legitimacy. I'm here to deconstruct 'Toine, for it is through him that we enter the soul of the Shoe.
For contrast, see Kevin Federline: ex-Mr. Britney Spears, backup dancer turned aspiring solo rap artist and, most of all, object of unrelenting national ridicule. Both 'Toine and Federline are uncivilized beings. K-Fed is a grown man and father, yet he acts like a deluded 14-year-old child star on Percocet (YouTube search for Corey Haim, "Me, Myself and I"). His rap lyrics, like his life, indicate no powers of intellect or conceptual thinking. Like a baby unable to recognize his own reflection in the mirror, Federline simply cannot understand why he's a big-ass joke to the world.
The character of 'Toine offers no clear signal whether he has a working human brain or instead possesses the instinct-driven mind and emotionally minimal limbic system of a primate. He lusts, drinks, dances, windmills his arm to impress women, curls his lip like a goon in a '50s pulp comic and humps stationary objects. With his bling ring on one hand and a large, monstrous claw on the other, 'Toine seems caught between the ego of man and the id of the jungle.
The ultimate difference, of course, is that Federline is real and unironic, whereas 'Toine is fictional and, like Bacon Shoe, so ironic as to be almost unassailable. ('Toine is played by John Ferguson, a talented local-rock mainstay who plays bass in Federation of Horsepower.)
More from Bacon Shoe the movie:
In The Movie, a thin plot emerges when 'Toine sets off on his own, then realizes that he is helpless without his partners, Lethal D (the group's MC, producer and straight man, played by John Bersuch) and Mr. Ruggles (the dog-headed bacon chef and mascot, played by Mike Stover). D and Ruggles find 'Toine homeless, sleeping with a stick-horse unicorn outside an abandoned building in the West Bottoms.
The plot goes out the window during a subsequent skit starring Alacartoona diva Erin McGrane, who shakes her coconuts for 'Toine and Lethal D and entices them to fill condoms with a garden hose until they explode. These episodes, plus concert footage recorded at the Record Bar and Mike's Tavern, make up the meat of The Movie.
The road-trip portion of the film shows the men of Bacon Shoe out of character, which really applies only to Mr. Ruggles and 'Toine; Bersuch, in real life, utters the same sort of grotesque non-sequiturs as his alter ego, only not in rhyme and not all the time. The trip is full of juvenile dick jokes and eye-roll-inducing guy humor, but it also shows the merry pranksters who performed guerrilla-style on the streets of Austin, Texas, with a PA in the back of an SUV making all kinds of people laugh, dance and want in on the fun.
Unlike serious forms of pop music, Bacon Shoe is a pure, unrestrained expression of the bizarre, and it's laid over beats. It asks nothing but merely proposes a model in 'Toine: Don't think, just dance, drink and eat bacon. Deconstructing ¹Toine A new DVD hints that their might be genius lurking Bacon Shoe's sizzling grease.