The Roots, Gym Class Heroes, Estelle Palladium Ballroom October 11, 2008
Better than: dealing with the fallout from a long overdue nastygram to your boss...
I’m the first to admit that the most I know about Gym Class Heroes is that “Cupid’s Chokehold” song that comes on the radio every now and then.
It has this laid back, almost dreamy sound that I usually associate with Cali hip-hop (think Souls of Mischief and Pharcyde). And I dig it. So that alone made this show worth checking out—well that and the World Famous Roots Crew who really let the tuba player have his shine. And the bill said Estelle was there, too--but her set was so brief that I hardly remember seeing it.
Sucks to be the new guy—er, girl.
The Roots bounced in, from stage right, to a New Orleans second line tune (much like their unforgettable last appearance at the Gypsy Tea Room) and immediately got the crowd rocking. As they cruised through cuts from their newest album, I found myself obsessed with trying to read the handwriting on their backdrop.
I’ve been present for nearly every Roots concert in the past three years, but this is the first time I’ve really seen them rock the hell out. Guitarist Kirk Douglass’ wah-wah-ing execution of “Sweet Child of Mine” and “Bad to the Bone,” compounded with the drum-off between Questlove and the bongo player during “You Got Me” made this feel more like a mash up. Staying true to form, Black Thought unleashed his unforgiving rendition of “Men at Work” and Questlove tossed signed drumsticks out to the crowd before making way for Gym Class Heroes.
The energy in the room was damn near palpable by the time frontman Travis McCoy breathed his first word. Excitement bubbled over as they kicked off “Peace Sign.” I’ve gotta admit, McCoy is a funny character, describing his days as a “sexy chubby kid” in high school and getting the audience to hug it out with a nearby stranger.
The highlights of their set were “Live a Little” which they dedicated to DJ AM and Travis Barker; a cymbal crashing, riff-thrashing “I’m Innocent”; and Disashi’s all-out guitar massacre before the band performed “When Doves Cry.”
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They closed the show with “Cookie Jar” as I did my best not to get body-checked by a couple of minors in matching System of a Down tees.
Critic’s Notebook Personal Bias: As far as eye candy goes, I’m totally sold on McCoy and guitar player Eric Roberts.
Random Note: A drumstick chucked by Questlove got stuck in the ceiling insulation and one cat threw his shoe up there to knock it loose--but his shoe got caught, too.
By The Way: Was anyone else’s ears still ringing 12 hours after the show? Mine were. AWESOME! --Quia Querisma