Thursday, April 26, 2018
Music News, Concert Reviews

Review: Public Enemy, Ice Cube and LL Cool J rattle the Mahaffey with rap's boisterous past

ST. PETERSBURG — With the cranium-rattling levels of bass, chaos and raised-fist rap lyricism filling up the Mahaffey Theater Thursday — De La Soul! Public Enemy! Ice Cube! LL Cool J — it was easy to get seduced by the Kings of the Mic Tour.

A little older, a little thicker, a lot richer, these hip-hop progenitors still possess the sweat, passion, VOLUME to stir the blood, make you feel youthful, unconquerable. They made you feel like it was okay to wear your baseball hat backwards again. Oh yeah, feels good!

Every now and then over the three-hour-plus show, however, the near-capacity crowd of 2,000-some would get knocked back into a 21st century reality. For instance, when PE's Chuck D barked out a ferocious rhyme — and then gave everyone his Twitter address. He even said "Tweet me!" I wasn't sure whether I should fight the power or go cry in the bathroom.

Hey, that's a retro reunion show for you. It was loud and sloppy and silly, and the ferocious societal wallop these guys once delivered has been turned into a feel-good sing-along.

But hey, these are darn good songs to sing along to. Give me PE's thunderous Can't Truss It — quite possibly the most insane jam the Mahaffey has hosted — over most of today's pretty rap. (Kids, get off my lawn, right? Rap is always more meaningful when you're 18 years old.)

The trio of De La Soul smartalecks are still nimble, and the show had its first gloriously transcendent high when, at the end of their short set, they launched into Me, Myself and I.

Backed by a full band, a DJ and a small army, PE was next, with Chuck D and notorious clock-wearer Flavor Flav — both in their early 50s and recent inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame — refusing to act their age. The volume was way too pumped, and their powerful words were buried under needless boom. But it wasn't hard singing along to 911 Is a Joke (Flav doing his squirmy spaz dance, natch), Bring the Noise and Don't Believe the Hype.

Long before he was considered family entertainment, Ice Cube was the most incendiary mouthpiece in music, the most dangerous man in the most awesomely dangerous band on the planet: N.W.A. He's not as fearsome at 43, but he still has the gift of those naturally arched eyebrows, which make him look like he's about to slug someone. His set was compact and hard, old-school gangsta, opening with Natural Born Killaz. Cube showed his melodic side on Check Yo Self ("Cuz shotgun bullets are bad for your health") then caused a minor riot with N.W.A.'s Straight Outta Compton.

Closer LL Cool J (aka 45-year-old James Todd Smith) is also a household name and multi-hyphenate: movies, TV, licking his lips as host of the Grammys. But let it be known the man responsible for Mama Said Knock You Out and Going Back to Cali is still a pugilistic MC. Backed by DJ Z-Trip, LL made sure his vocal was high and mighty during his hit-packed set. For all his Hollywood trappings these days, his performance was in-your-face and unfettered, including a haymaker version of I'm Bad. Call me crazy, but LL and Cube and PE sell their boasts better as middle-aged survivors. All hail the Kings — they've earned the title.

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Review: Foo Fighters drop an all-night rock revival on Tampa’s MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre

Review: Foo Fighters drop an all-night rock revival on Tampa’s MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre

Dave Grohl charged out like a pre-tween hopped up on Code Red, sprinting from corner to corner of the stage, all kinds of jacked up to preach the high holy gospel of RAWK."You know why I'm here? Do you know why I came here tonight?" the Foo Fighters ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Fleetwood Mac coming to Amalie Arena in Tampa

Fleetwood Mac coming to Amalie Arena in Tampa

Before Christine McVie and Lindsey Buckingham came to Ruth Eckerd Hall last fall, Buckingham said Fleetwood Mac was mapping out a tour for 2018 and beyond. And he fully expected to be a part of it."Fleetwood Mac is absolutely a dysfunctional family, ...
Published: 04/25/18
This week’s best concerts: Flo Rida, Queens of the Stone Age, Bay 2 Beach Festival and more

This week’s best concerts: Flo Rida, Queens of the Stone Age, Bay 2 Beach Festival and more

ROCK ROYALTY: Queens of the Stone AgeWhen Queens of the Stone Age singer Josh Homme got in trouble recently for kicking a photographer at a show, local fans might have seen it coming. During a gig here in 2014, a fan got up on stage and tried to gree...
Published: 04/25/18
Review: Yanni returns to ‘Acropolis’ for a passionate night at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater

Review: Yanni returns to ‘Acropolis’ for a passionate night at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater

I have to confess: I was not prepared to see Yanni walk on stage Tuesday night at Ruth Eckerd Hall.I mean, of course I knew he would be there. It was a Yanni concert, after all. Can't throw a Yanni concert without Yanni.But if you've seen photos of Y...
Published: 04/25/18
Hernando Symphony Orchestra ends season with ‘Kaleidoscope’ concert

Hernando Symphony Orchestra ends season with ‘Kaleidoscope’ concert

BROOKSVILLE — Some are full of bluster and bravado, while others are sentimental and romantic.And when the Hernando Symphony Orchestra closes out its season this weekend with its Kaleidoscope concert, audiences will witness the wide range of talents ...
Published: 04/24/18
SoundBytes: Tracy Morgan, Nipsey Hussle, Jimmie Vaughan and more

SoundBytes: Tracy Morgan, Nipsey Hussle, Jimmie Vaughan and more

— Tracy Morgan is coming to the Capitol Theatre in Clearwater. He'll perform there on Nov. 2. Tickets are $49.50 and up. Click here.— Former Kiss guitarist Ace Frehley is returning to the Capitol Theatre on Nov. 9. Tickets are $35 and up....
Published: 04/23/18
Janelle Monae coming to Jannus Live in St. Petersburg

Janelle Monae coming to Jannus Live in St. Petersburg

Janelle Monae's Dirty Computer, which drops this Friday, is one of most music watchers' most anticipated albums of 2018.Looks like the R&B star will follow it with one of the year's most anticipated tours.Monae's Dirty Computer Tour will take her to ...
Published: 04/23/18
J Balvin coming to the USF Sun Dome in Tampa

J Balvin coming to the USF Sun Dome in Tampa

J Balvin just had himself a mighty fine Coachella.On Saturday, he popped out on stage with Beyonce to perform their hit single Mi Gente. And on Sunday, he showed up for Cardi B's set to perform I Like It with Bad Bunny.Pretty soon, Tampa can get a ta...
Published: 04/23/18
Janet Jackson coming to the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa

Janet Jackson coming to the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa

A mere three years after her last trip to Tampa, Janet Jackson is on her way back.The pop icon announced a new slate of tour dates for her State of the World Tour, which has been dormant since December, and Tampa's one two Florida cities (the other i...
Published: 04/23/18
Underoath’s Spencer Chamberlain talks addiction, ditching the band’s ‘Christian’ label, moving back to St. Pete and more

Underoath’s Spencer Chamberlain talks addiction, ditching the band’s ‘Christian’ label, moving back to St. Pete and more

HGTV fanatic that he is, Spencer Chamberlain sees a metaphor for his band in the ever-evolving St. Petersburg skyline."When you go downtown and you look at the ONE, that used to be a dirt parking lot," said the singer, referring to a 41-story condo t...
Published: 04/23/18