October 16, 2004
BY JASON SONGE
I've heard "Brass Monkey" at many different '80's nights in various cities over the years, but it was way cooler to hear it live in a field with thousands of people yelling along.
The Beastie Boys played an energetic, enjoyable, and well-structured set Saturday night at The Voodoo Fest in City Park. It was a super-party. People were doing their best b-boy dances or freak-outs. It was easy to muster up the courage to boogie. The Beasties brought their A game. Just look at the setlist below. "Intergalatic," "Sabotage," "Shake Your Rump," "Root Down," "Sure Shot." Even if the Boys had been moping around the stage and sloppily delivering lyrics, something good would have come out of the concert. The music itself was just too "fressssssssh," as Mike D would say. The Boys luckily didn't act like they were dangerously approaching forty years old. For the first seven songs, they ran circles around each other in matching green Puma jumpsuits like they were still teenagers. Their energy foreshadowed their precise lyrical delivery. "Like a glove," as Ace Ventura would say. They rapped with enthusiasm and let their personalities shine through. It was funny to hear Mike D say "tantalizing" in his silly British accent during the opener, "Triple Trouble."
Actually, the real opener was DJ Mix Master Mike. He mixed together bits and pieces from the popular songs of the day before the Boys ran onstage. During the interlude between DJ-created beats and live music, Mike scratched and mixed vinyl like a fiend. He moved his hands extraordinarily fast between the records and knobs on his mixing board. And it wasn't just vinyl masturbation, either. The mix sounded linear.
After the interlude, the Boys came back out with a percussionist under a canopy adorned with bright glow red lights. Like a Hawaiian prom. The Beasties were dressed in powder blue ruffled tuxedos. They went into "Sabrosa," an instrumental, and then they got all psychedelic with the voice-box ditty "Something's Gotta Give."
The only stain on the performance was the collage of fan raves of the Boys shown on the big screen as the Beasties changed outfits again. What's the point? They were the last act of the night. If people were still there, they wanted to see the band. We, the audience, didn't need a bunch of people re-assuring us of the Beasties' talent.
The group came back out with "An Open Letter to NYC," which was poignant and made me proud of NYC. The Beastie's struck their famous triangle pose during "Three MC's and One DJ," which was one of their most concise songs. For an encore, they played "Gratitude" and "Sabotage." This song was dedicated to George W. Bush, and it was prefaced by MC Ad Rock telling the crowd to vote Bush out of office. This was met with cheers and a smattering of boos. The Beasties also attacked Bush between songs with a new taped video of Will Ferrell impersonating the president. Ferrell as Bush playing air guitar on a shovel was hilarious. Anyway, the Boys kept their political talk curt.
Still, the lyrics to "Sabotage" were creepily fitting for a Bush protester: "I can't stand it I know you planned it/But I'm gonna set it straight, this Watergate/I can't stand rocking when I'm in here/Because your crystal ball ain't so crystal clear/So while you sit back and wonder why/
I got this fucking thorn in my side/Oh my, it's a mirage/I'm tellin' y'all it's a sabotage."
The Boys kept the night fun with their sense of humor and comraderie. They joked around with each other and Mix Master Mike. Ad Rock even tried to connect with the crowd by talking about local things. He failed, but it was funny anyway. He was talking about the everglades. Nope, that's in Florida. We have swamps. And then just as he said "hot sauce," he broke out in laughter at himself.
The band ruled the night with their energy, sense of humor, classic rump shakers, and D.J.
Mix Master Mike Intro
Right Right Now Now
Time To Get Ill
Shake Your Rump
Mix Master Mike Interlude
Something's Gotta Give
Open Letter To NY
Three MC's And One DJ
Ch-Check It Out
So What'cha Want