Wednesday, July 1, 2009

"what do we want? roots crew! when do we want it? now!"

I'm not good at writing show reviews. I reread some I had written on a previous blog years ago and I cringed at the writing quality, just as I'll probably cringe at older entries on here when I look back in a couple of years.

But last night, I met up with the usual suspects to see the legendary Roots crew and their live show. There was no opening act, just a DJ, which is better than a lousy opener I guess because you can hang out and talk and quote your favorite Pharcyde lyrics at each other and wonder when the band is finally going to play.

I've always heard about their reputation as a great live band that really jams on their songs but I don't think it registered just how good they are, incredible energy and stage presence, watching Kirk and Tuba Gooding Jr. and the bassist
dancing behind Black Thought while playing their instruments was priceless. They looked like they were having fun, and the crowd was having a great time too. I don't know how I missed out on this all those years.

For those of us kids raised on the rock, we got a drum solo interlude some amazing guitar work, nonstop songs that encompassed much of their back catalog, reworked to include elements of Bo Diddley, Lil Wayne, Led Zeppelin, the Sugarhill Gang, Black Sabbath, Fela Kuti, and probably others that I missed. The set was structured so well, effortlessly mixing and shifting between genres... jazz improvisation, afrobeat rhythms, guitar solos, funk grooves, reggae breakdowns.

and if you want at least bits and pieces of the setlist, which I should've kept track of but I was having such a good time that I didn't.

in the music
here I come / iron man
get busy
sorrow tears and blood / criminal
mellow my man
the next movement
i shall proceed
rock and roll part 2
you got me / i'll be there / sweet child o' mine / immigrant song /other
the seed 2.0

It was one of those shows where I just felt so satisfied at the end. It's been such a rough two weeks that the whole night was just so refreshing.

We all felt so good that we all got outside and exulted in the rain and slid down the slick sidewalks of empty downtown before heading out to IHOP (evidently the only 24-hour place on the east side) for late night food and the kind of insane conversation where you're all flowing off of adrenaline and coffee.

You know that you have to be up and at work the next morning but it doesn't matter that it's 2am because you're dissecting the Cleveland accent, discussing sampling, movies, reminiscing and adding to epic inside jokes, debating east side/west side, the merits of Lakewood vs. Cleveland Heights.

So worth it. One of the best nights I've had in a long time.

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