The Coup, Key Choice, My Dad Bruce: Nov. 16 at the Wild Buffalo

Formed in Oakland, CA in 1990, the Coup is a bit of an anomaly—a hip hop band playing real instruments and fronted by an out and proud Marxist whose songs are exclusively political. Even the sexy slow jam “I Just Wanna Lay Around All Day in Bed With You,” off 2006’s Pick a Bigger Weapon closes with the line, “We be in bed together like Bush and Hussein.”

Touring behind “Sorry to Bother You,” their first album since 2006 (Riley worked with ex-Rage Against the Machine guitarist, Tom Morello, on the Street Sweepers Social Club and played a major role in Occupy Oakland in the interim) the Coup are as fiery as ever. Riley worked the whole stage, stalking, jumping and snarling with unflagging energy. At one point they even inspired a mosh pit that was broken up as quickly as it formed.

“Sorry to Bother You” represents a new musical direction for the Coup, or rather, a bunch of new directions. The complex mix of styles and instrumentation is tricked out to the point that some songs were unrecognizable when played live by a four-piece band. At one point Riley listed off four or five new songs the band had already played, and I didn’t remember hearing any of them except “Your Parents’ Cocaine,” (which I recognized by the lyrics; the sound was completely different without the chirpy wall of kazoos that characterizes the recorded version) and “You Are Not a Riot.”

Even so, the band kept the crowd fired up throughout with buckets of heavy funk bass and Riley’s energetic stage presence as they tore through a set that also included “We Are the Ones,” “Ass Breath Killa,” “Favorite Mutiny,” “Show Yo Ass,” and there was an awkwardly-timed fistbump to Riley from a bro in the audience during a slavery mention in the intro to “500 Ways to Kill a CEO.” Singer Silk E added a layer of melodic soul. And in case the good times distracted you, Riley spelled out his agenda between songs in no uncertain terms, saying, “The people should democratically control the wealth they create through their labor.”

Touring opener Kev Choice is a classical pianist turned rapper who combined these disparate forms for a short warm-up set that was oddly pleasing and definitely unique.

Local hip hop act My Dad Bruce also played with a live band that included ex-Idiot Pilot, Michael Harris, who appeared to be playing in a completely different band. MDB’s set drew heavily from their recently released self-titled album, with “Freak That System,” and “Work” standing out as highlights. They rounded out the set with a handful of covers that included Gorillaz’ “Feelgood Inc.,” Kool and the Gang’s “Get Down on It,” and the second rendition of the Nina Simone hit, “Feeling Good,” that I’d heard in the space of a week.