Volume 93, Issue 35

Tuesday, November 2, 1999


Ben Harper reveals side as genuine as his music

Public Enemy number one

Is Western ready to Laugh?

Nice deserves namesake

Public Enemy number one

©Neil Malhotra/Gazette

GET READY, CHUCK – MY NEXT "HA-HA" MIGHT MAKE ME DROP ANCHOR. Flavor Flav and Chuck D dug down deep Sunday night, giving the DV8 audience a wealth of experience regarding life, liberty and the pursuit of nose plugs.

By Luke Rundle

Gazette Staff

The floorboards thrummed, the speakers shook and the crowd's hands stayed glued to the ceiling as Flavor Flav and the one and only Chuck D made London, as they declared for all, "the capital of hip-hop tonight."

Those expecting a quick, half-assed 20 minute performance Sunday night at DV8 by Public Enemy were sorely disappointed. The rap supergroup took command of the stage at 11:30 p.m. with extreme authority, energizing the crowd for two hours with combustible cuts from past records and their current album, There's A Poison Goin' On.

Although ticket sales were rumoured to be slow, DV8 was packed to the rafters, with guests pressed shoulder to shoulder, leaving only enough room for them to raise the roof.

Expecting a somewhat reckless crowd, metal detectors passed over every patron at the door and police officers stood ready. However, the overarching attitude of the night was peace, love and a genuine celebration of truly unique musical skill.

Some questioned the choice of venue for such a famous group, reasoning that a larger forum such as the Ice House might have been a better setting for the full-scale event. However, DV8 provided a much more intimate environment, leaving fans with the impression they had attended a house party throwdown rather than an impersonal concert.

Opening up with the classic "Prophets Of Rage," Public Enemy dropped hit after infectious hit on the excited and partially costumed crowd. From "911 Is A Joke" and "Can't Truss It" to the Puff Daddy remix collaboration "PE 2000," the group relentlessly pounded their audience with wave after wave of sonic barrages.

Seemingly reluctant to leave the stage, the musicians even included opening act Michie Mee and local rappers Low Creepers in the festivities, inviting all to drop freestyle rhymes with them, as well as serenading Mee at midnight on the occasion of her Nov. 1 birthday.

All in all, Sunday night's concert provided everything expected from a Public Enemy show, as well as much more. The S1W dancers, clad in Kevlar vests and swinging giant swords, provided stoic expressions and militaristic dance moves in the background. Chuck D reached over the stage barriers to touch fists with the populace and Flavor Flav flailed around in his patented style.

With DJ Lord Aswad replacing the on-sabbatical Terminator X on the turntables, the group sounded as good as ever, possibly even better.

When Flavor urged the crowd to raise hands in a solidarity sign of peace and harmony at the concert's end, it truly felt like DV8 was the world epicentre of hip hop.

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Copyright © The Gazette 1999