Tag Archives: Rap

Let’s Talk About 311

So last night thanks to Cleveland.com I got to attend the 311 show at the Time Warner Amphitheater VIP style.  I was not planning on going at all but last week I “re-tweeted” a Twitter post that Cleveland.com put up for a chance to win a pair of tickets to the Unity Tour 2010 and I thought to myself “why not?”

A day later I got a message saying I won the tickets.  I was stoked.  I mean why wouldn’t I be?  Free is good these days plus I got to rendezvous with an old musical friend of mine.

311 and I go way back.  I am not trying to sound like one of those music trendy scraps out there who just say random things to impress others.  311 and I have been down (no pun intended) since I was in high school.  I have seen them many times live, owned countless overpriced bootlegs, was a member of their fan club before the internet existed, and even was knocked out at once of their shows at the Cleveland Agora.

I vaguely remember what happened but will always remember the incident.  I know I was in the pit of that show when a size 12 combat boot slammed into my head knocking me the hell out.  The next thing I remembered was my pal Philippe asking me if I was ok.  I think I said yes but I was more confused over anything trying to figure out why I was not in the pit anymore.  Apparently Philippe dragged the knocked out me from the pit and into an alley through some emergency doors.  He told me that I looked at him, smiled, and ran back into the pit.  And I wonder why my body hurts so much these days… (Additional note: I bought a 311 work shirt at that show and I still wear it to this day)

High school ragers were not only fueled by cheaply processed beer but also Grassroots and Music.  I remember when their self titled album came out in 95 my friends and I freaked out and basically listened to the album on repeat until the cassette wore out.  Yes, cassette.

We wore 311 apparel, did our best to emulate Nick Hexum and S.A. Martinez (sounds terrible when thinking about it these days), and might have stolen room number signs from various secret locations that said, you guessed it, 311.

In 96 Enlarged To Show Detail was released on VHS and we had competitions on who could watch it the most in a three month period.  I made it to 278 if I am not mistaken and my pal Brent surpassed 301 times.  We were addicted.

By 1999 though most of us friends were growing up, attending college, or maybe even raising babies.  311’s music style was growing up too and to be perfectly honest I lost interest in them.  I stopped wearing the shirts, the CDs collected dust, and I moved on to other things. I never stopped liking what they had done in the past but I just could not get into their material after Transistor (minus the cover of The Cure song of course).  311 kept putting out albums and touring obviously but I just did not care, that is, until those tickets I won reached my hands.

***Time Out – As I am typing this I can not help but grab my copy of 311’s self-titled record (yes, record) and throw it on the turntable…

It was a unseasonably chill night in Cleveland as I arrived to the venue.  Parking the car and walking the lot all I saw was kids who were either in college or never lost the college mentality pre-game it with beer pong games and jello shots.  Not into that anymore I walked past them and aimed towards the VIP entrance.

For the record, VIP is not that much better.  There is a little bar to the side that still charges you $42 for a beer as well as a private bathroom that some other VIP drunk ass will most likely vomit all over in (it happened later in the night).

After making it through a terrible set from a shirtless, shoeless, surfer boy band called Pepper I found out that the Offspring were not even playing the Cleveland stop of the 2010 Unity Tour.  I was bummed out as they were another band I used to really like in the 90’s but that is a whole other story.

While waiting for the headliner to take the stage I glanced at my ticket stub and realized I had box sets.  VIP and box seats?  That was a pretty good prize if you ask me…  I took my place in the box sets, which are not that good at all if you ask me, and took in a 311 show.

The boys, who are all almost 40 with the exception of P-Nut (36), took the stage just as the sun was saying goodbye to the day.  They all looked very youthful as they did 15 years ago and almost the same except this time there was no bleach blond hair.  More importantly they sounded amazing and I am not just saying that as well as were genuinely excited to be on stage.  They were on point for all of their songs regardless if I knew them or not and were all about the crowd.

It was not until 5 songs in when the band dished out “Taiyed” that I started feeling like I actually belonged there.  Immediately after they dropped into “Plain” followed by their first chart breaking hit “Down”.  During those songs I started having non-drug induced flashbacks of the times I previously mentioned.

Shortly after all the members of the band minus Chad Sexton left the stage so he could beat on the skins for a while.  He put on an amazing drum solo that lasted at least 15 minutes and to make the little segment cause for more applaud, the rest of the band came back out and joined in on a synchronized drum circle of sorts.  Kind of jam band if you ask me, but it sounded great and all the fans loved it.

The remainder of the night again consisted of a good blend of older and newer material.  I do not think at any time did I not see movement in the huge crowd.  Song after song people were jumping around having a good old time just enjoying themselves.  The band really pushed forth a solid set and delivered just as good of a show as when I saw them almost 15 years ago live.

This was a shirt at the merch booth and I am kicking myself in the ass for not buying one...

During that show all these juvenile memories of my friends and our love for 311 hit me.  I could not help but shoot a few texts to a couple of the guys who I remain in touch with letting them know where I was that night.  It was a good night indeed thanks to a one time unknown Omaha act that has been rocking out since 1988.

311 Setlist:
Sick Tight
Mix It Up
Freeze Time
Hostile Apostle
Applied Science
All Mixed Up
Livin’ & Rockin’
Come Original
Hey You
Never Ending Summer
Nix Hex
(bass solo)
Off Beat Bare Ass
Creatures (For a While)
Beautiful Disaster
F*ck the Bullshit

The Awesome: Public Enemy Return To Cleveland

It’s true.  Rap pioneers Public Enemy are coming back to Cleveland on Sunday June 27th to the House Of Blues.

That right there deserves The Awesome.

Having seen them for the first time ever at the 2009 Bonnaroo I can tell you this – they put on an amazing live show, even at 3 in the morning.  Age aside these guys are kings of what they do.  I am more than thrilled to see them come back to Cleveland and will be making sure I am in attendence that night.

According to my pal Matt over at that Addicted To Vinyl site (who I should add was there with me at that amazing Bonnaroo performance):

Public Enemy
featuring Chuck D, Flava Flav, Professor Grif, DJ Lord and the S1W
Sunday, June 27
House of Blues

From their multiplatinum 1987 debut, Yo! Bum Rush the Show!, to seven records later, Public Enemy’s influence on hip-hop and rap shows little sign of slowing down. Arguably the most frequently sampled rap artists of all time, they proclaim, “We got a right to be angry.” They’ve been channeling that anger into articulate, revolutionary lyrics, as much to educate as to entertain. They use deep Funk basslines with layered rhymes from Chuck D interspersed with funny quips from Flava Flav (notorious for wall clocks hung around his neck). The beats, rife with police sirens, screeches, and heavy sampling, speed each tune to a cathartic release. Anyone who thinks that racial equality has been reached in the U.S. can think again, and let Public Enemy do the talking.

Tickets go on sale on 03/31/2010 and I am positive this will sell out.

$32.50 – GA- Standing Room Only – Advance
$35.00 – GA- Standing Room Only – Day of Show
$45.00 – Reserved Seats

For more information visit the House of Blues website.

The Suck: Bone Thugs N’ Harmony Concert Cut Short Thanks To A Visit From The Police

The Police @ The House Of Blues (no, not that Police)
The Police @ The House Of Blues (no, not that Police)

Now I was not at the House of Blues last night to see Bone-Thugs-N-Harmony(BTNH) play to a sold out crowd but rest assured if I was, I would not be thinking too highly on what happened that essentally put a halt to the show.

According to Fox8.com, Cleveland Police came into the venue and arrested Flesh-N-Bone who had 2 outstanding warrents. 

Flesh-N-Bone had not been to Cleveland in over 10 years.  Some homecoming he had…  This was to be a reunion show for the band and the fans.

Why am I posting this?  Well because I am a fan of BTNH.  I got to see them years ago at the Odeon and had a blast.  I’m also not a fan of concerts being shut down or ending early.  I guess I feel bad for all the folk who payed good money last night to see the 90’s Cleveland rap sensations only to have to be shunt a performance thanks to the manor the arrest was handled.

According to Cleveland.Com, 50 Cleveland police officers and Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s deputies entered the venue to make the arrest around midnight.

50 officers & deputies to take in one man?  Seriously?  I get that the venue was sold out at the 1000+ capacity venue but why do it in the middle of the show?  I really think there could have been a better way to have handled this.

Flesh-N-Bone obviously has been having his own problems but why exactly did the arrest have to go down at midnight?  Oh wait, it gets even better…

This comes from ClevelandLeader.Com:

Police say that Howse [Flesh-N-Bone] recognized that deputies were watching him while he was on stage, and then called the crowd up on to the stage. He then attempted to make an exit off the side under cover. Unfortunately, that tactic did not work. Howse was restrained by a deputy while other deputies and Cleveland police assisted.

Somehow I am not buying that… Oh well.  I hope things work out for him and I hope the fans at least got to enjoy the hour and a half that BTNH did get to play before the cops shut it down.  There were no injuries reported and no riots started so that proves that the Cleveland fans can keep their cool during a really ridiculous situation.

Times Of Yore: The Bloodhound Gang – Use Your Fingers

So during this edition of Times Of Yore I wanted to talk about a band that is still around and is still putting out CDs.  The band is without a doubt a mainstream act and many know them quite well.  The band I speak of is Pennsylvania’s Bloodhound Gang (BHG).  The comedic rap and rock mixing band has been a favorite of mine since the mid-nineties.

Sure everyone who knows the BHG is familiar with their hit tracks “Fire Water Burn” and “The Bad Touch”.  Both tracks were hits all over the radio and basically helped the band achieve attention (well before Bam Margera included them in his fun).  Where I am a fan of the albums that both songs appear on I actually would have to say that their debut full length album Use Your Fingers is my favorite.

Here is the part where I talk about that CD…

I found Use Your Fingers by pure accident.  I was at a Half Price Books with my pal Mike one day just looking for stuff to buy.  I remember I picked up a copy of the CD and just looked at it.  There was a hot looking lady on the cover in small clothing eating a chicken leg that grabbed most of my attention.  I looked at the rest of the CD and could not help but wonder to myself what in the hell I had in my hands. It looked like a punk rock CD of sorts and I decided it would be best to buy it before someone else did.

Without hesitation I purchased the CD but had to wait until I got home to listen to it seeing my car at the time lacked a CD player.  I remember though the moment I hit the play button on my trusty Sony Walkman (that I still have to this day) that I became an instant fan.  I had honestly not heard anything quite like it before.  It was hip hop but punk rock with lyrics out of this world not to mention comedian Rip Taylor provided the introduction.  Jimmy Pop, Evil Jared, Lupus, and Daddy Long Legs became heroes to my young ears.

I listened to the CD over and over and proclaimed them one of my favorite bands.  I would sing along daily to songs like “Legend In My Spare Time” and the “Pretty When I’m Drunk” as well as their cover of “Kids In America” which I still prefer over any version to this day.  I just loved the raunchiness of everything the band did from the clever lyrics and samples to the beats surrounding them.  Within weeks I had a copy of their debut release Dingleberry Haze EP in my hands.  I was a BHG fanatic.

Months later I saw a tiny add in Scene Magazine stating that the BHG was playing in town.  I was convinced it was going to sell out so I went out and bought two tickets, one for me and the other for Mike.  Boy was I in for a surprise…

I will never forget the night the Bloodhound Gang played the Grog Shop their first time.  We got there early so the place was not that full but after time passed we started to notice that not a lot of people showed up to the show.  Seriously there was like 8 people there including Mike and I…

The BHG took the stage and played like there was a full house.  Mind you that show was years ago so I could not tell you the set at all but I do remember Jimmy Pop singing on the bar at one time.  My other memory was when the band asked for volunteers to come up on stage for a contest.  For whatever reason I kept my hand down but Mike raised his and they asked the kid with the mohawk (Mike) to come on stage.  The game they played that night was a game of darts…on Evil Jared’s back.  There were like 3 or 4 other people playing along and one by one they would throw a dart into the human dart board.  Mike hit a bulls-eye.

I do not think the band was ready for that as the bulls-eye was drawn rather small on Evil Jared’s back but they still gave Mike a prize, a studded bracelet.  I was jealous and honestly I still am.  After the show the few of us who hung out got to talk to the band and joke around with them.  They were super cool and even gave us some stickers and temporary tattoos.

That night was one I will never fully forget.  Even if the outcome was horrible the BHG could care less and not even two years later they returned to the Grog Shop to a sold out crowd with Nerf Herder opening for them.  I remember that night too especially when the band pulled me on stage to sing a couple verses from “Fire Water Burn”.

Almost 15 years later I still listen to Use Your Fingers and sing along as I did when I was just discovered them.  I can not wait to see what they come up with next and even if they sell out the next venue they play in Cleveland I will always think back to the day when BHG played what seemed like more of a private show for me and my pal.