Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Da Mob Rulez

Despite missing the Rage Against The Machine concert, 1993 started off with a bang, and the ball of momentum known as Grasshopper was still rolling strong. On average we were gigging 2-3 times a week, and we were landing opening spots for what one might consider bigger underground bands. One band in particular that we would be opening for very soon were known as The Jesus Lizard. I wasn't a fan of them by any means, but Derek was a huge fan, so needless to say this show was going to be a very big deal to him.

The night of the gig arrived and we unloaded our gear into the infamous Opera House. The weather was terrible as it was winter, and there was a heavy snowfall that day. We got our equipment in without incident and it was time to rip shit up. I can't remember who the first opening band was, but they tried their best to warm the fans up who were still piling into the venue from the harsh winter outside.

By the time we hit the stage the place was packed from front to back. This was easily the biggest crowd we had performed in front of to date. Just as we were about to kick into our first song, the promoter came out on stage and informed us that The Jesus Lizard would not be able to make the show due to how bad the snow was in the U.S. We now went from mid-card openers to headliners in the blink of an eye. Not only that, he left it in our hands to inform the audience, who were not pleased at all with the announcement.

I almost felt like a thief, all of these people were here to see a certain band and now that band wasn't coming, which left us with their plethora of fans at our disposal. The promoter also told us we would have to increase the length of our set as to fill time voids. We came out strong and kept punishing the crowd's ear drums with song after song. The reception wasn't the greatest at first since most of the fans were sour about the Lizard not being there,but it seemed like each song we played warmed them up to us a bit more. By the end of our set we had the crowd eating out of the palms of our hands, and we received a great ovation from the audience in attendance. All in all it was a great night filled with great exposure for us. 

Another surprise was the fact we ended up getting paid five times more than we were supposed to. Since the Lizard couldn't make it that meant they didn't get paid, which in turn left the promoters with extra money, and they weren't too stingy to share the wealth.

Days later I was getting prepared to attend a rap concert at the Concert Hall, Ice Cube would be blessing us with his presence, and his crew Da Lench Mob were to be the opening act. I had seen the Mob once, but I was very excited to see them again, as I was much more familiar with their music now that their debut LP "Guerrillas in tha mist" had been out for about 4-5 months.

I started asking around my circles of friends to see who wanted to attend the show with me. I can remember being excited to tell Mike Myers about it, as I figured he'd be stoked. Surprisingly I was shocked when he replied "No I don't want to go. It's going to be all white people and Ice Cube doing 'throw your hands in the air' type sing-a-longs" I couldn't believe his response, but we laughed about it and I dismissed his theory.

The night of the show arrived and the Concert Hall was rammed full of people, and just like Mike had predicted most of them were white. They weren't white b-boys however, most of the crowd were grunge and alternative type people. I was quite surprised to say the least.

Lench Mob opened up the show and they absolutely killed it. Their sound was a bit rough thanks to the sound man, but their energy was great as they murdered track after track. I was slamming around in the pit, rapping along, and it was apparent that most of the people here weren't familiar with their music. The set was a bit short for my likings, but they still put on one hell of a performance regardless.

Cube was up next, and he came out with a plethora of music from his solo albums. Much to my dismay Mike had been correct in his prediction, as Cube was getting the crowd involved in sing-a-longs quite frequently. There was nothing funnier than watching a bunch of corny white kids trying to join Cube in participation, but it was getting old quick. All in all he put on a decent show, played quite a lot of great songs, and rocked the stage for a good hour or so, but to me Lench Mob were the highlight of the night.

On the way home I felt a bit dumbfounded. What had happened to hip hop? A mere two years ago if a white kid attended a rap show, he or she would be one of the few white folk in attendance. Now there were barely any black people attending rap shows, and the white kids who were attending them weren't even rap kids. They were punks, thrashers, metal heads, goths and grunge kids. 

I could only wonder what the future held for this once all-black art form...

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