Saturday 28 January 2023

That's what you pay your licence fee for!

Apropos of the BBC repeating Public Enemy's Behind The Beat special last weekend, here's P.E's live performance of Rebel Without A Pause filmed at London's Hammersmith Odeon in 1987. You might not have seen the Behind The Beat special, but you've definitely heard it because it's Public Enemy's infamous live show which was used throughout It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back. Peep Chuck D's very rare onstage outfit: #athleisurewear white jogging suit, Flavor Flav clock around his neck, and the brim of his baseball cap flipped up like he's Mike Muir from Suicidal Tendencies.
First live Rap concert ya host ever saw was Public Enemy in 1992. I was still in high school, but I was already 6 feet high & rising so I got in the venue no problem. Incredible show featuring all the classics from the first 4 P.E albums, and the group hadn't yet ruined their own live performances with Real Musicians™ playing Real Instruments™. You just can't recreate them Bomb Squad beats with a backing band, even if the backing band includes a low end auteurist like Davy DMX on bass guitar.


Spartan said...

That Behind the Beat special was so good.

PE at Hammersmith Odeon is one of those concerts where I wish I was there.

Kelvin Mack10zie said...

I concur.

Flav doing his dance over Do The James should have been a part of P.E's live shows forever.

L.A said...

+1 on wishing I was at the Hammersmith show.

Kelvin Mack10zie said...

Mr. Me Too (no #MeToo), natch,

I can't believe they didn't film LL's performance too. Sounds like he tore it down from the audio:

Devoted martorialist reader said...

Fuckin hate rap with real instruments! Who likes that shit? It ruins everything.

Kelvin Mack10zie said...

😂 Your name.

I'm not against it on record - lots of my favourite 1979 to 1986 Rap features Real Musicians™ playing Real Instruments™, as does some of my favourite music by Too $hort, DJ Quik, UGK, OutKast etc.

But it always sounds awful live, especially when rappers try to recreate sampled beats with backing bands.

Devoted martorialist reader said...

Thats what I meant: "recreate sampled beats with live bands", recorded instruments are alright of course.

But even if real instruments aren't bad per se nothing beats rap when a machine is involved.

Also the absolute worse isn't rap with instruments but people who think it's a superior art form just because some dude is struggling whipping the barrels.

Kelvin Mack10zie said...

De La with a live backing band doing 3 Feet High & Rising from front-to-back was a struggle trying to work out which song they were supposed to be playing even though I know the album inside out. Everything just sounded like Living Colour, and while I quite like Living Colour, I don't want De La to sound like them.

Devoted martorialist reader said...

In the parlance of Scarface "I feel ya". But let's take things even further: live rap is almost always a disappointment. Can't remember a show where I could say it was better than on CD. Either it's shittier, or it's just as bad. Sometimes that live energy elevates the music but it's rare.

Kelvin Mack10zie said...

.... maybe. They're always better if you're inebriated, natch.

Fred said...

Wouldn't say live rap is always a disappointment, but you almost always have to go there with low expectations. Seeing Fredro Starr from Onyx stage diving Timb Boots first into the parisian crowd elevated an already great live show by a few notches though. Same thing when the whole Boot Camp Click gathered around Buckshot, put him on a chair, lifted him up in the air and had him freestyle for like 3 minutes straight haha.

Saw Devin The Dude in a venue in Christiania in Copenhagen and the vibe was just so Devin, smoked out, chilled out, that it was a perfect match. Saw MC Eiht struggling to rap over his backup tracks in the same venue a year after and it wasn't cool - still enjoy his music.

Wen't to see Lil Wayne at an outdoor concert in Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen a few years ago expecting nothing and I got to witness a few thousand teenagers singing along to Lollipop and him actually performing with enthusiasm, that was all the way worth it. Anyway just a few live rap experiences.

Would love to see one of those shows with like Too Short and DJ Quik performing in one of those crazy amphitheater in California and witness a bunch of middle age ladies rapping all the words to songs like Cock Tales and I Useta Know Her haha.

Next rap show for me is most likely Oddisee in April though, will report if appropriate.

Kelvin Mack10zie said...

I've seen Oddisee live and he was good even though I'm only familiar with a handful of his songs.

Devin is great live - just effortless charm. Last really good Rap show I saw was Homeboy Sandman & Edan in 2019. Lots of fun and it actually had me looking up the old Sandman songs he'd performed.

Next up for me is Souls Of Mischief live in March. I think they're performing 93 'Til Infinity from top-to-bottom.