Jurassic 5 20th Anniversary Manchester 19th June
20 years… yes 20 years have passed and this is how we are repaid by one of the tightest rap groups Hip-Hop has seen since its birth, rise and in some areas of the genres within the lifestyle, its fall.
At 39 I haven’t grown up with J5 (that’s a statement I would reserve for the Beastie Boys), but I have watched and followed them, loved them, allowed their music to infiltrate my life, dug deep and bought everything I could, admired their talent and drive, learned from them, and now find myself in the privileged position of being part of Marc 7’s team and a friend of the 6.
The words Legend and Legends are words which are used frequently for many artists who really aren’t that special. There are artists who have done so much to bring down the real elements of Hip-Hop who are hailed as greats by writers and people who really don’t understand what they are saying themselves. Media spin, at any level, is just that. Spin made up of throwaway words, sentences and paragraphs which hold no real meaning except the meaning of pumped up words inflated to push through the realness and stay afloat the waters of Lake Yada Yada.
If we look at music in general, the legends of the game include the likes of The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Elvis, James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Beastie Boys, Public Enemy, Run DMC… and I think after 20 years of nothing but classic earth shakers, Jurassic 5 are banging on that small door which opens up to a huge room full of back catalogues … some of which include many bum notes.
As stated at the top of this post, I am in a very privileged position, one which allowed me to be inside the venue for soundcheck. A floor which would later in the day be filled with 3,500 attendees, sweating and drinking with sometimes their left hand raised, sometimes their right… and when Reverend 2NA brought his preacher style crowd orchestration to the front of the stage, both left and right hands would be raised, along with the roof due to cheers when Chali drops the word Manchester in a low B Flat tone with purpose.
The show was flawless. Three and a half thousand people roaring for around 2 hours, dancing like it was a Saturday night on a Thursday night. Generating so much heat that not only could J5 have cooked their after show food to go with Cut’s after show smoothies, but it was red hot, so hot that along with Irn Mnky, Junior Bear and Eskar (who had one of the dopest nights in his first 20 years of life), I finished up with a soaked t-shirt being stood up in the skies of Manchester Academy.
The energy and crowd feedback from the show was the best I have witnessed over the 20 years the group have been rocking joints on point and on time. I’ve put a lot of effort into making sure I got to 7 J5 shows as well as many of the gigs their solo careers have carved out over the years and have witnessed the crowds grow… along with the groups collective and solo material. Fittingly, after 20 years… this group of 6 which is firing on all cylinders for the Anniversary Tour in 2014 are at their best, with a new track in tow that not only gives the fans something new to prove they know the lyrics, but allows the 6 to celebrate the life of their friend and Hip-Hop pioneer ‘Heavy D’. If you haven’t heard the release or seen the The Way We Do It video then click on through to the other side and listen right here whilst reading the remainder of this post.
Before the show, was a dope warm up set by the one and only Ugly Duckling. Andy, Dizzy and Einstein, who is expecting his first born very soon and was earlier in the day expressing his delight at the inclusion of A Little Samba on the newest Visa advert, did an amazing job of rocking the crowd and reminding us of the good times back in the day when laces were fat and Michael Jackson was black. I know Dilated Peoples are on the line up for the second night at Brixton but I know J5 are happy to have these 3 whipping the people in attendance into a frenzy. Really good to see that it means much to Andy, so much that he has flown his Mom over for the show(s), she was full of pride when they took to the stage informing me that ‘that’s my son up there’. Mum’s are great.
So the Jurassic 5 20th Anniversary Manchester 19th June started at 9pm… ran through non stop with no breaks or breathers, and no set lists taped to the floor, until about 10:20pm. After a 5 minute breather, a gulp of water with fruit in, and a mop down with the black towel, they took to the stage for a second time, smashing out another set of tracks of which many artists and groups can only hope to have in their own quality control room. Just when another hit hit, another hit hit, and then another… Gotta Understand, Work It Out and so on… just too much freshness for the average mind and ears to comprehend.
As the floor emptied with semi functioning bodies, there was still enough left in the tank of these seasoned engines to do a meet and greet with fans, signing record sleeves, tickets and flyers, which brought the usual scenes of dudes bending backwards 90 degrees to make their snapshot look like they was the other side of the barrier with their favourite rap artists or DJ’s.
After the show it was a trip upstairs to share thoughts with Marc, I asked him if releasing his first solo material this year had given him something extra on stage. I analyse you see, analyse everything and everyone. It’s something I do when I care, it can be DJ equipment, software, animals in the garden, strangers walking the streets as I sit having a coffee… but I have to admit that it is mostly people I become close to so that I can help them in any way possible. Marc 7, as I have mentioned in past posts, has been the last of the members to release his strictly solo material, and I have helped where I can. With that I have watched him step out of the shadows and be more of a boss at the front of the stage. 20 years may go by, but in any walk of life, in any profession, you are still learning. Not only about what you do, but about who you are and what you are capable of.
The main dressing room filled up with everyone from J5, I allowed myself to chill and chat to Numark about the large turntable, finding out just how it worked. I had a lengthy conversation with Cut Chemist about the forthcoming ‘Renegades of Rhythm’ mix and tour with Shadow, an upcoming event showcasing the record collection of Afrika Bambaataa, finding out details of how it came about, how it is going to work, what was involved when choosing the records which are now owned by a library… all whilst I was drinking in a Green Tea and Cut had 2 big glasses of juiced fresh fruit at 11:30pm.
Chali 2na enters the room, the lights to the entrance cast a long shadow across the table and he starts to ad-lib flows using various standard sentences which could be stuck together, pasted over a beat, and released. The lyrical Yul Brynner then makes a DJ happy by leaning over and asking Cut ‘yo Cut, can you pass me my CD man, I’m gonna shoot and I don’t want to forget that’. That CD was Charity Shop Tapes, they all got a copy, and I will let you all know if any words come this way about its effect on their ears.
We all stood up, gathered some essentials from the rider, apple, strawberries, mango, water and more… took the staircase and then left the academy.
Enjoy the Music