Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

In Hear This, A.V. Club writers sing the praises of songs they know well—some inspired by a weekly theme and some not, but always songs worth hearing. This week, we’re remembering songs from the great lives performances we saw in 2012.

Generally speaking, never-before-heard songs are rarely the highlight of live shows, simply by virtue of the fact that no one in the audience knows them. While any given Doomtree crew show is usually packed with highlights—one of the reasons I’ve spent so much time evangelizing the Minneapolis hip-hop collective here—their Lollapalooza after-show at Chicago’s Empty Bottle provided one of the more surprising concert-going experiences I’ve had, when Mike Mictlan debuted a new track that the crowd went apeshit over. Not only had the audience never heard “Spicy Peeñ,” off of Mictlan’s at-that-point-unreleased mixtape Snaxxx, most of his Doomtree associates appeared to not know it either, as they stood back and watched him wind the crowd up into a sing-along of a chorus they’d never heard. (At the end of the below video, Dessa stops the show to point out how surreal and awesome it was watching Mictlan perform it for the first time.)


Outside of that lightning-in-a-bottle context, “Spicy Peeñ” is still pretty good, though a little more eccentric and weird than that high-energy performance would have suggested. (And the NSFW, disgusting official video should be avoided at all costs.) Mictlan’s hazed-out, free-associative flow is less sharp than it usually is, but it fits with the song’s dirty, druggy vibe, as does the blurry production. It’s a love-it-or-hate-it kinda track, but the couple hundred people who were at the Empty Bottle that night have extra reason to love it.

And here’s an audience recording of the performance in question:

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