I like Auggie Smith. I like the fact that on his newest album Smell the Thunder he doesn't waste any time and gets right down to business. He takes to the stage and immediately digs in, setting his sites on The South and...well...he doesn't exactly blame them for the BP oil spill but he makes a heck of a case for not feeling bad for the people of Alabama who are seeking help. And that's just in the first three minutes. I love it.
Maybe I like Auggie Smith so much because I pretty much agree with him on every count and I take a little pleasure in hearing people who annoy me get blasted. That includes you, Bad Driver With A WWJD Bumper Sticker (apparently Jesus would lean on his horn and yell profanity out of his window). And you, People Who Like "Pimp My Ride" Without Thinking About What The Title Means. And you, People Who Steal Condoms (even though people who steal condoms are the people we want to have condoms). And you, Parents Who Drive A Mini-Van With TV Screens Installed Inside And Then Wonder Why Your Kid Has ADD.
Smith is so perplexed at some of the things going on around him, so fired up by the inanity that is modern existence, and so tired of the mixed messages that permeate pop culture, he works himself into a red-hot frenzy that sends him spiraling into a maddening rage as he screams at Zeus in the heavens above. And then...deep breath...he's back. And ready to do it all over again.
The pacing on Smell The Thunder is smart. If Smith was constantly working at a 10, his outbursts would get tiring. If he would idle at a 2, he would bore the crowd. But this isn't his first time behind the mic and he knows just when to stomp down on the throttle and just the precise moment to dial it back and let the audience catch its breath.
Some of the tracks on the album are pretty short, but still manage to pack in some laughs. One of my favorites is "Living Will," the story of Smith's "no-good older brother" who was in an accident and slipped into a coma. Smith allowed the doctors to pull the plug and soon after, his brother woke. What do you say to him after that? The story isn't even 90 seconds long, yet he manages to hit all the major points and still weave a good story. Likewise with "Not Black Enough," in which Auggie addresses some people's complaints about President Obama and with one hilarious example shows why they are wrong.
I like Auggie Smith. He's a fun comedian, very likable, and he knows how to get the crowd on his side. I like the fact that he'll say things most of us probably wouldn't (or couldn't) in a public forum and still have the audience cheering and laughing. To prove my point, all you need to do is Smell the Thunder.