Self-described piano supervillain Chilly Gonzales has a long resume. Known for vanquishing Andrew W.K. in an epic piano battle, helping fellow Canadian chanteuse Leslie Feist with piano and production work on her albums, from Let It Die to Metals, and playing a record-setting 27-hour concert, while being generally sweaty and eccentric, there was no telling what weirdness Chilly would lay down in his “Piano Talk Show” at Brooklyn’s Bell House on Friday night.
With the help of his four-piece Fuck Luck Orchestra, Chilly played lush solo concertos, spat through selections from his recent symphonic rap album The Unspeakable Chilly Gonzales, and tap-danced on his piano in a bathrobe, among other things.
Without further ado, here are the six best things Chilly Gonzales said on Friday night:
1. “To be in a major key is to adopt a right-wing viewpoint.”
Knocking the bourgeois Hapsburg Dynasty who commissioned most of the famous major-key compositions young pianists are forced to learn, Chilly extolled the hidden power of minor keys in popular music. “It adds a little complaint,” he said while playing “Heart And Soul,” “Chariots of Fire” and “Happy Birthday” in exclusively minor chords, turning the latter into a grim reminder of the ceaseless march of decay. “Poland. 1940,” he added to snickers.
2. “I believe we get the hip-hop we deserve. If you don’t like the rap of today, you probably don’t like today.”
Chilly admitted he wanted to be a “man of his times” when starting out as a musician, and for any post-1990 artist to properly reflect his cultural surroundings he’s gotta be able to drop some flow. Bashing superficial rap songs about amassing “cream” and “cheese,” Chilly recited a snarky ode to his own self-designed marker of wealth, “Beans”. “I’m not a has been, but I has beans/ and that means being beanless is a bad dream,” he explained.
3. “You’re doing great, David, but you made a mistake, is the point. Sorry to go all Tiger Mom on you.”
Three times throughout the Talk Show, Chilly brought audience volunteers onstage for an on-the-spot piano lesson. The second lucky subject, a former guitar player named David, was charged with maintaining a two-note bassline that matched the volume and cadence of Chilly’s “Bongo Monologue”. When David neglected to drop the tone of his notes to match Chilly’s whispering verse, the bathrobed Beethoven halted the Fuck Luck orchestra to lay some quick disciplinary words. The song resumed, and a blushing David killed it.
4. “I decided to become a hater, which, if you don’t know, is a term that means you really love someone, love them so much that you can’t stand not having attention from them so decide to do and say mean, passive-aggressive things.”
Chilly told the harrowing tale of his love/hate relationship with Drake following the rapper’s uncredited use of Chilly’s “The Tourist”, pretty much in its entirety, on the So Far Gone mixtape. After failed attempts to reach Drake, Chilly eventually wrote the above diss anthem, in which he apes the Canuck emcee’s AutoTune-dampened drone. The track never got released, and Drake eventually invited Chilly to perform on “Marvin’s Room”, but that didn’t stop Chilly from sharing some good-natured hating on Friday. “I doubt Drake spends his time searching Chilly Gonzales YouTube videos with 36 views,” he said.
5. “Let’s see if I can write a rap song in 6/8, wearing a bathrobe with a string quartet”
He could. He did.
6. “This is usually where I do some regional pandering. So, let’s see if we can use this room to channel ODB, the greatest Brooklynite who ever lived.”
During his encore—right after he played a concerto with his head ducked under the keyboard, and right before he mounted the keyboard to play a final song with his feet—Chilly gave ups to Brooklyn rapper Ol’ Dirty Bastard in a participation-necessary sing-along that got the crowd mimicking Dirt McGirt’s signature gravely growl. There were no ghostly visitations to conclude the Talk Show. Nobody seemed disappointed.