Sunday, August 30, 2009

Street Scene 09 Recap

So I wasn't supposed to go to Street Scene in San Diego this year. I had just planned to visit yesterday and catch up with some friends on Twitter - but Friday, I ended up buying my ticket and Saturday, there I was enjoying the best block party in Southern California.

First off, I was people watching and is it just me or is this return of 80's fashion gone too far. I saw dudes rockin tank tops, short shorts, big shades like we were in 1989 instead of 2009. Bad enough we got the skinny jeans back in vogue but that drove me nuts. Indie-rock fans I tell ya.

Anyways, the day started off with seeing Blue Scholars, a dope hip-hop group outta Seattle that my friend Irma put me on to last year. They put on a dope show as Geo was clear with his lyrics and Sabzi was dope with his DJing and hypeman. At one point, he mixed in the drums from The Cure's "Close to Me" over a song and then it turned into Geo flowing over the entire beat.

(sidenote, is it just me or are most non-Black MC's easier to understand live for the average hip-hop fan. Something in their tone or just great connection with the sound guys)

But Blue Scholars is dope - good, mellow hip-hop - and you need to get up on these guys. "Loyalty" has been my jam for the past year and it's one of the best songs I've heard come out in the last 2 years.

After them, it was time to see one of the best hip-hop groups ever and easily one of the best crowds while the sun was still out. That's right y'all, Public Enemy was in the house and seeing them up close was just as good as seeing them from afar at Rock The Bells two years ago.

Chuck D can still rock a stage with his booming voice and Flavor Flav showed why he's the best hypeman ever as the two rocked through "Shut Em Down" "911 is a Joke" "Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos" - they kept the energy with the band, Prof. Griff and the S1W's. Plus I saw the best shirt of the day up there....."I Survived the Bush Administration 2001-2009."

We jetted the set during the middle to catch arguably the best live show in hip-hop, Busta Rhymes. I had never seen Bussa Buss and even though we caught the set late, it was still worth it! He and Spliff Star (Top 5 hypeman) rocked the stage along with DJ Roc Raida from the X-Ecutioners and dude is the ultimate showman!

We came in during "Respect My Conglomerate" and he ran through the whole bunch of hits, even joints I forgot like "Break Yo Neck" "Light Your *** on Fire" and "What It is." Even though he didnt finish his classic verse from "Scenario" or "Pass the Courvoiser", dude had everybody dancing and working up a sweat.

I swear you forget how prolific this dude is. He and Spliff had dope chemistry and after Roc Raida did a solo set, I'm gonna just say this - Busta is one of the best live performers in music, beyond hip-hop.

(One quick tidbit, shoutout to KPRI-FM down in San Diego. They hooked my girls up with free tix to pass out fliers and I helped them out.)

Last show of the night was L.A.'s finest new band "Silversun Pickups" and I was so geeked to see them live. Thanks to the radio folks, I missed "There's No Secrets This Year" but caught the transition to "The Royal We". It was dope when Brian Aubert talked about enjoying P.E.'s set (they rocked on the same stage) and discovering the goodness of a California Burrito.

They rocked so seamlessly through their set and it's crazy thinking that outside of the bassist and drummer, all of the sounds are coming from 1 guitarist and a keyboardist. I was just marveling at how they were creating the noise. Then everybody rushed the area to hear "Panic Switch" and I went nuts. Peep my tweets from watching that.

Oh man, and then "Lazy Eye" was an incredible finale! Not just because Brian had a sick solo when the instruments faded but fireworks from Petco Park just happened to go off at the same time during the solo. If that wasn't a perfect finale, I don't know what was. It was one of the best spectacles I saw.

I ended up doing something next that I never did - leaving a concert early. I wanted to see the Dead Weather and of course M.I.A. but spending quality time with my Twitter peeps was important. And when the night ends with carne asada fries and them wanting to peep Silversun's albums - well I count it a major W.

For a last-minute plan, Street Scene 09 was a blast and surprisingly it was the first concert I saw since seeing Common and Luda out here. I need to see another show soon.

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