Public Enemy at First Avenue, 12/6/12

Categories: Last Night
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Public Enemy's Hip Hop Gods Tour
with X-Clan, Monie Love, Schoolly D, Leaders of the New School, Wise Intelligent, Son of Bazerk and No Self Control, Awesome Dre, Davy DMX and DJ Johnny Juice Thursday.
First Avenue, Minneapolis
Thursday, December 6, 2012


The Hip Hop Gods Tour, the brainchild of Public Enemy's Chuck D, made its stop at First Avenue Thursday and for a six-hour long show (no, that is not a typo), it could have been a lot worse, but it also could have been a lot better. For its length, its scope was too narrow. Shows like this are better suited for summer festivals and for the most part it rang hollow.

The opening bands weren't given enough time onstage to make much of an impact, save for X-Clan, who were afforded nearly an hour, and Monie Love, simply because she was the only female and had the wherewithal to bring out local rapper MaLLy for a quick song. The other bands -- who in actuality were the originals in name only -- Leaders of the New School, which was really only Dinco D; Wise Intelligent from Poor Righteous Teachers and the rest were given little stage time and had to work fast to make any sort of an impact -- most didn't.

See Also:
Chuck D: Yeah, I voted in the 2012 election

Regardless of what the marquee advertised, people were there to see headliners Public Enemy. It was a long, arduous wait filled with old hits from revered bands and quick Q&A sessions helmed by Chuck D after each set. Overall, it played out like watching a 1992 episode of "Yo! MTV Raps" on fast-forward.

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Photo by Tony Nelson

By about hour four the banner hanging at the back of the stage featuring that oh-so-familiar militant-in-crosshairs logo loomed large; beckoning, promising.

As a result, final openers X-Clan's set shook out to be more of an intrusion than anything else, which was a shame. The crowd was becoming antsy, even somewhat agitated. How much longer would we have to wait? Why was X-Clan given roughly triple the stage time that everyone else was? When do we get to see Flavor Flav?! Only the second question went unanswered but the answers we did get weren't the ones we were necessarily seeking, either.

The intro to Public Enemy's set was ridiculously long, owing to a sound problem they were working out with DJ Lord. (Original DJ Terminator X has long since retired.) The crowd again waited as two hype men tried to keep the crowd warm with the usual "Are you ready Minneapolis? I mean, are you really ready?" that wore thin almost immediately. The crowd was more than ready, and the last barrier proved to be almost too much. Finally, though, the Security of the First World (S1W) appeared as did Chuck D and Professor Griff and they rumbled through a stellar version of "Rebel Without a Pause" that found Flavor Flav finally appearing about a quarter of the way through to the loudest cheers of the night.

The building momentum almost immediately came to a crashing halt, however, as Flavor Flav went into a long, disjointed, rambling monologue about the history of the band, the history of hip-hop and, inexplicably, his newfound fame as a reality TV star. Some of it made sense, but about half of it was taken up by the words "fuck" and "motherfucker," making it difficult to track exactly what he was getting at, a trend that would continue at various points throughout the set.

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Photo by Tony Nelson

"911 Is a Joke" finally followed, but the wind came out of the sails completely as it became obvious Flav was lip-synching his vocals (and poorly, at that), likely leaving many to wonder what exactly was happening onstage. "Welcome to the Terrordome" started to build the momentum again, Flav actually singing on that one and finally falling into to his human cartoon mode, with his trademark dancing and jumping around, running to the corners of the stage every so often to hype up the crowd. (He is the original hype man, after all.)


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21 comments
petescholtes
petescholtes

Late to say something, but I experienced a different show and a different set of demographics than Pat: Leaving the music aside (which I thought was amazing, Flav included), I was actually surprised by how diverse the crowd was for a PE show (I gather from their documentary that shows tend toward overwhelmingly white). And while the Rhymesayers themselves were there, the Rhymesayers crowd didn't seem to be. Upstairs, the audience skewed over-40 and maybe half African American. Just sayin'.

blackjon66
blackjon66

I saw a great show, Public Enemy & OG crew of hip-hop b/c listers was golden for actual hip-hop fans...  the crowd was diverse, duh.... felt like a high school reunion in a good way.  Weed smoke.....YES.

......wowzers!

mox44
mox44

And you want weed, should have been at Snoops show at the Cabooze a year ago,it was great and i'm still high.

mox44
mox44

I saw them in 1990 at First Ave and 1992 at The Quest and was hurting not going to this one. But I guess I didn't have to ruin my great memories from the early years. Amazing Chuck still puts up with Flav.

an2lope
an2lope

Awesome show. Too bad this whining bitch got weed smoke in his sweatshirt and had to stay till bar close to write his awful review. Thanks for the racial comments too city pages what amazing journalism. Pat you also didn't mention all the people that wouldn't sleep with you or your bad parking spot. I for one had a great time. Critics bias Pat can perform fallatio on me.

ru12xu
ru12xu

Hey Pat - So sorry your critic sensibilities were offended. Maybe you can call Chuck D and offer some advice on how to entertain a crowd.  I was at the show as well  and overall PE was great, even if it took 3 hours before they got on stage.

leiftheviking
leiftheviking

I also don't see the need for the "Random Tidbit" being about weed smoke. It's a concert. 95% of them will have that, some more than others. Just my 2 cents. 

brokenhalo
brokenhalo

@gimme_noise @PublicEnemyFTP @FirstAvenue That was not a criticism, I was mostly making light of it.

snyde0431
snyde0431

I was at this show too. While I'll agree that it ran a bit long and probably could have done without a couple of the openers, I thought it was worth it to see Public Enemy perform live and I wasn't disappointed. I'm also not dragging quite as bad this morning I would have expected for getting home at 2AM.

GregSchaal
GregSchaal

@gimme_noise Do your writers really NEED to criticize the racial make up hip hop shows in MN in 2012?

catiekennedy
catiekennedy

@jonmarcbauer That review makes me really glad that I chose to forego tickets to that!

solace
solace

@jonmarcbauer wasn’t the first stop

Zach McCormick
Zach McCormick

Woulda been cool to hear something about Chuck in that review...

MattHelgeson
MattHelgeson

@brokenhalo also i guess i feel like that whole thing of white ppl calling out how "white" shows are is kinda lame anyway IMO

gimme_noise
gimme_noise

@GregSchaal @brokenhalo I didn't read it as full-on criticism, but maybe Pat can comment.

jonmbauer
jonmbauer

@catiekennedy Yeah. I've had a run lately of seeing bands past their prime. I'm glad I didn't go either.

jonmbauer
jonmbauer

@solace Still, I remember seeing the video of them playing with Anthrax at Madison Square garden. I guess both are playing smaller venues.

jonmbauer
jonmbauer

@solace #ReviewsArticleIPulledThatFrom Crap. I misread that. It makes my point less punchy.

brokenhalo
brokenhalo

@MattHelgeson It was 3:30AM, I made a bad attempt at a joke. It was stupid but there's nothing I can do about it now. D'oh.

brokenhalo
brokenhalo

@MattHelgeson it's due by 9. I work at 8:30. My only choice on weeknights is being up late.

MattHelgeson
MattHelgeson

@brokenhalo fair enough, why do they make you post at such an ungodly hour? damn

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