Saturday, July 05, 2008
The Roots Are (the Grateful) Dead
I just wasn't feeling the Roots last Thursday night at the VooDoo Lounge.
The frustration I felt was akin to sitting astride a surfboard waiting for a good wave that never comes.
Initially, I blamed MC Black Thought. He struck me as uninspired and dull.
I shared my consternation with J. Lee of Heet Mob. He gave me a politically correct response.
"He's considered to be one of the best," J. Lee said.
Heet Mob had opened the show; I thought a few members of the Kansas City-based crew were superior to Black Thought. (That's a Heet Mob video above.)
Then again, maybe I just couldn't get past Black Thought's Yankees cap. Or maybe it was the mix. I'd also spent much of the previous day at the Warped Tour's hip hop tent. And I'm still reeling from an electrifying show by Tech N9ne, T.I. and Guerilla Zoe a couple weeks ago.
Then it hit me- the last time I felt so uninspired as most everyone around me was lost in rapture was at a Grateful Dead concert in 1994.
Come to think of it, the parallels between the Roots and the Dead are astounding.
*Both bands are celebrated for their ability to play many different styles of music.
*Both play long shows filled with extended jams.
*Both feature lengthy drum solos.
*Both lack strong lead vocalists/rappers.
*Both favor Dylan covers.
*Both are large ensembles.
*Both are considered "live" acts; studio recordings are afterthoughts.
*Both have cult-like fan bases.
Disagree? Try this proper review of the show.