A concert by Detroit rapper-rocker Kid Rock is a lot like an evening of professional wrestling, with lots of tough-guy posturing and flashy but empty moves that pass for entertainment, but very little in the way of meaningful execution: all style, no substance.
At the first of Kid’s two sold-out Palladium shows (that’s more than 7,500 tickets sold), the 27-year-old rapper, born Bob Ritchie, led the crowd of mostly young males through a succession of songs celebrating his sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle, if not theirs.
Meanwhile, his competent but boring bandmates, known collectively as Twisted Brown Trucker, made an unholy noise out of fragments of rock, hip-hop, country, blues and R&B, with barely a hint of chemistry between members. The Palladium’s mashed potato acoustics only made the plodding and undistinguished music that much worse.
Dressed in a white Gilligan hat, white tank top and white beach pants, the fired-up Rock hit the stage to the strains of his hit dullard anthem “Bawitdaba” as a curtain of fire fell behind him. He sang for “all the crack-heads, the critics, the cynics and all my heroes at the methadone clinic,” and they all cheered right back at him.
Much of the 80-minute show’s music, like the clunky blues-rock of “I Am the Bulldog” or the faux-Western vibe of “Cowboy,” was inspired by the classic farm-belt rockers Kid Rock grew up listening to, so poor versions of CCR’s “Fortunate Son” and Grand Funk’s “We’re an American Band” were par for the course.
There were some signs that the increasingly popular but often misogynistic Rock is cleaning up his crude act ever so slightly: He left at home the rapping midget who usually plays the part of the show’s buffoon, and one of the last songs offered was the countrified ballad “Only God Knows Why,” in which our hero played the not-so-convincing role of misunderstood rebel.