ended it performing an energetic two hour plus concert
with his band across the Ohio River in Covington, Kentucky,
in the early hours of March 8th.
band is that," you might ask? Why, Public Enemy, of
course. Possibly the greatest hip hop group in history.
writer/producer Sid Howard and I were there when Public
Enemy leader Chuck D and PE founding members, Flavor
Flav and Professor Griff, launched their twentieth anniversary
"club" tour in front of about 800 enthusiastic fans
at Covington's Madison Theater. The pioneering rap group
released its first album, Yo! Bum Rush the Show,
in March 1987.
X Clan was the opening act. And, after an excruciating
45 minute delay caused by "technical difficulties" with
DJ Lord's turntable equipment, Chuck, the ageless Professor
Griff (the guy still looks like he's in his early thirties)
and Flav exploded on stage. Assisting DJ Lord in laying
down a massively heavy beat were PE's live drum, bass
and guitar rhythm section players, the BaNNed.
and Flav quickly cleared out a couple of dozen young
Republicans and Iraqi war veterans in the crowd by roaring
into their scathing rant, "F*** George Bush." I mean,
didn't these folks get the memo? Were they shocked by
Public Enemy's militant, anti-Establishment political
is still commanding and in strong voice. The kinetic
Flavor Flav, aka William Drayton, was quite spry for
a man who'll turn 48 on March 16th. He was pop-locking,
pogoing and high-kicking like it was, well, 1987. The
crowd went wild when Flavor ripped into his signature
song, "9-1-1 Is A Joke."
paused, mid-concert, to honor the late James Brown.
He and Flav then surprised those in attendance by bringing
former JB bassist and Cincinnati native Bootsy Collins
onstage. Collins, Flavor and Chuck improvised a rap
to the Godfather's 1971 hit, "Soul Power." Flavor later
cajoled Bootsy into playing the bass during a well-intended,
but awkward "solo Flav" encore that was clearly designed
to appeal to all the twenty-somethings drawn to the
concert by VH1's "Flavor of Love/I Love New York" reality
Enemy performed some of its more recent releases, such
as "Bring That Beat Back." However, the group didn't
disappoint fans who came to hear the classic PE hits.
They delivered with gusto their rap anthems: the ever-popular
"Don't Believe The Hype," "Rebel Without Pause," "Can't
Truss It," " "Black Steel In The Hour of Chaos" and
"Give It Up" from the Spike Lee/Denzel Washington movie,
He Got Game.
it was the Public Enemy song associated with another
Spike Lee movie, Do The Right Thing, that brought down
the house. "Fight The Power" even had the tatooed bartender
with the Iron Maiden t-shirt nodding to the beat. PE
added a classy finish to its most famous tune by having
a background singer segue the chorus into the Isley
Brothers' "Fight The Power." Same title, different song.
The Isley Brothers are from Cincinnati, too. Chuck D
knows his history.
Enemy's March 2007 tour has club dates slated for Chicago,
Toronto, Boston, New York City, Dallas, Houston and
New Orleans, before it closes in Miami at the UltraMusic
Festival on March 24th.
March 8, 2007
by Jack Marchbanks
ENEMY HITS U.S. ROAD MARCH 7-25 BEATS TO MECCA
|Wed - March 07
|Thu - March 08
House of Blues
|Fri - March 09
|Sat - March 10
|Sun - March 11
||New York City, NY
|Mon - March 12
|Tue - March 13
Ram's Head Live
|Wed - March 14
||Myrtle Beach, SC
House of Blues
|Fri - March 16
|Sat - March 17
Gypsy Team Room
|Wed - March 21
||New Orleans, LA
House of Blues
|Thu - March 22
|Fri - March 23
|Sat - March 24
Ultrra Music Festival
|Sun - March 25