PUBLIC ENEMY at Sound Academy, Sunday, September 2. Rating: NNNN
Public Enemy's show at the Sound Academy on Sunday night was the stuff of hip-hop legend as the veteran crew showed they've still got it.
When the untenable Rhyme Animal, Chuck D, and the seemingly still credible, despite his corny string of reality TV show appearances, Flava Flav, took to the stage just after 10:30 the crowd knew they were in for a treat. Backed by a three-piece live band, DJ Lord on the decks, and two camo-clad members of PE's The Security of The First World (complete with choreographed dance moves), Chuck and Flav proceeded to blast through a high-energy set that went well past the 120 minute mark.
Although the show was billed as a tribute to their classic 1988 sophomore LP, It Takes A Nation of Millions To Hold Us Back, Chuck stated early on that they were going to be straying off course and fans eagerly ate up the deep delve into their back catalogue of hard-hitting rap tracks.
Opening with the 1, 2 punch of Louder Than A Bomb and Rebel Without A Pause the show started on a serious high with the tight backing band providing the perfect backdrop for Chuck's distinct, commanding baritone. Flava Flav, rocking his trademark clock and seeming far younger than his 53 years, kept the crowd hyped through a slew of hits like Bring The Noise, Don't Believe The Hype, and He Got Game, by jumping around the stage, leaping into the audience, and busting out the requisite "Yeah Boyeeees". Flav even jumped on the drums to drop the beat for Yo! Bum Rush the Show favourite Time Bomb, right before inviting "The King and Queen of Canadian hip-hop", Maestro and Michie Mee, on stage to say a few words to the crowd and kick a verse each, all while Chuck D. stood stage right looking on, grinning, like a proud father at graduation. By the time show closer Fight The Power dropped everybody in that sweaty, eclectic crowd, had their fists pumping with collective fervor.
"Thank you for letting us be ourselves" was Chuck D's mantra throughout the show and I'm pretty sure everyone making the long trek home from the Sound Academy that night felt the same way.