Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Roots Picnic Recap

June 6th was a shining day in Philly. The legendary Roots Crew put together a smashing event for the people. An all day concert affair. The concert was headlined by a who's who in performance prowess. The groups ranged from new acts like Kid Cudi and Asher Roth to seasoned vets like the hosts themselves (The Roots) and Public Enemy.

There were two set ups for performances which included one main stage and an indoor tent stage. The first main stage act I saw after getting inside the venue was Antibalas which has my boy Marcus as a member. This is huge afrobeat band and they rock shocked the house. I wanted to dance on stage because they were killing it so much. The singer/cowbell player had a lot of energy and got the crowd moving.

After that performance my brother Just had a plan to keep moving towards the front after every act finishes. It worked pretty well as I didn't really want to see any of the tent acts. Next up on the main stage was Santigold (formerly Santogold). Her performance was full of energy and her dancers were really dope. If you haven't heard her album now (you are late) you should get it. While it seemed the she lip synced a few of her songs some were live and all were performed well.

Following Santi was the Black Keys who did the damn thing. With just a guitar and drum set they went in HARD! I had never heard their music before but I must say I was impressed with the show they put on. At one point the guitar amp was blown from just plain rocking too hard. While the crowd waited for the group to get their stuff together in impromptu chant of "DRUM SO-LO!" filled the space. The drummer just blushed and shrugged it off. The amp was fixed and the Black Keys finished their set.

Next up was Public Enemy performing their seminal album It Takes A Nation... and boy did they. With the Roots backing them and Antibalas on the horns this was a beast of a performance. Flavor Flav with his hair full out really went in on songs like Cold Lampin. Chuck D was still doing his mic acrobatics with Griff and the S1W's in tow. I could hardly contain myself during Rebel without a pause. That's a top 3 record of all time to me. I'm getting chills now just thinking about it. ?uestlove did a good job keeping the music direction as tight as possible with Flavor Flav going into rant mode in between songs asking for the crowds support on his "presidential campaign" and the like. Flav seemed to be of clear mind this sunny afternoon in Philly and he is without a doubt the best hype man ever.

This performance was followed by TV on The Radio who did the damn thing. They always give a good show though so there were no surprises for me there. By this time I was super tired and ready to go. The show was an hour behind and the Roots were taking the stage to close up the show. During their set my team made our escape to hit the road. We didn't miss much because about 5 minutes after we left the venue the show was done.

All in all I had a ball (c)Jalil. I was a little suprised by the amount of teenagers in the place to be. It felt like the Young Peoples Day Camp convetion at times. I did bump into a few cats from home like Rich Medina and Dallas Penn. This was a picnic I would go to again, I just hope next time they have chicken cheesesteaks on sell as well as the beef ones.

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