By Wal Reid
Artist: Jurassic 5
Date / Venue: Thursday April 9th, The Powerstation, Auckland
You can keep your Kendrick and Drake, ‘cause tonight it was all about 90s Hip Hoppers Jurassic 5. The decade that spawned G-Funk & ‘rump shaker' also gave birth to the alternative hip hop group in 1993 from members of Rebels of Rhythm and Unity Committee. Interesting to note, it was also a time when people wore that god-awful Cross Colours clothing. Hey, it was awesome but not bloody perfect.
Wondering the last time I had been well and truly exposed to prime hip-hop beats, embarrassingly I couldn't. As the crowd teemed to the front I visually sighted my concert ‘hombres' I'd been with before the group gathered onstage as DJ stalwarts DJ Nu-Mark and Cut Chemist churned up the intro to After School Special complete with the little cutey kid audio bite "You guys workin' on a new album?".
From there it was all on as the J5 boys creeped and lurched the stage microphones in hand inciting the crowd with their infamous quick fire delivery vocal style as the dreadlocked Akil motioned the crowd grinning "This is like a small private concert so enjoy". DJ Nu-Mark and Cut Chemist then came front of house as they did their choreographed DJ battle, Cut Chemist sporting home-made modified guitar with turn table while his buddy was hitting the panels of what looked like a body suit made out of old vinyl records.
The recently reformed J5 (they split in 2007) are energetic and happy to oblige the crowd, I mean I lost count of the times they had concert goer's phones filming each other or the amount of high fives given out around the front rows. The crowd responded, there was definitely a party brewing as Chali 2na called all the ‘mature' ladies to get down, dedicating their Al Green sampled hit 'Baby Please' from their 2006 Feedbackalbum - sorry guys it just wasn't our night.
Whether the deep baritone smooth of Zaakir on I am, Quality Control or Break or the imposingly tall Chali 2na who reminded me of 90's American sitcom star Sinbad or the understated Marc 7.
It was a sweaty but an enjoyable two hours of funked up J5 classic s that frankly nobody was in hurry to get away from, even more so when Akil decided to come down off the stage to mingle with the local
Jurassic 5 avoid the usual misogynist black clichés and innuendos that go with the territory. They'd kick a few asses in the ‘cool category' against guys half their age and will probably be still around for the next decade. Whoever included them on the Byron Bay Blues Festival line up ought to be congratulated, we could sure learn a thing or two from our past, especially from the Jurassic age - ah yes ‘rump shaker' ...