buttonThe Roots @ Shibuya O-East (15th Jan '07)

The Untouchables

      Just prior to launching into an astounding version of The Tipping Point's "Don't Say Nuthin'", Black Thought, MC extraordinaire for The Roots, told the near capacity crowd at O-East, "Just to let you know, you are rocking with the best.".

      While rap is known for its boasting and swagger, much of which is admittedly completely unwarranted, Black Though wasn't exaggerating. Over the last decade and a half, the Philadelphia act have firmly established themselves as not only one of the best live bands in their genre, but as one of the top live bands in all of music. Anyone who had any doubts about this was instantly silenced minutes into The Roots' nearly two hour performance.

      Opening with the title track from their most recent album, last year's excellent Game Theory, The Roots went on a tear as soon as the song's intro ended. Black Thought, keyboardist Kamal Gray, and guitarist Captain Kirk Douglas emerged on stage in full winter gear complete with parkas and trench coats, only to discard them a few songs in as things quickly heated up in O-Nest..

      Possessing an amazing ability to read one another perfectly, the band fed off of each other all night, taking the word "tight" to all new levels. Whether it was playing for 90 minutes straight without stopping (during this time someone was always playing an instrument, there was literally no down time) or slipping in parts of Kool And The Gang's "Jungle Boogie" at seemingly random spots during "Don't Feel Right," the sextet did everything in their power to ensure that the near full house of Japanese and American hip hop fans got their moneys worth. Not ones to take performing lightly, the last several years have seen the band releasing a new album and then touring for eighteen months non-stop in support of it before heading into the studio to record a new disc and getting out on the road again. While this hectic pace would wear some groups out, it only makes The Roots more lethal with each passing year.

      Although showing no signs of letting up anytime soon, if The Roots ever tire of playing originals, they could probably make a decent buck as a top-notch cover band. Leaving so that Hub could show off his skills during an extended bass solo, the group rejoined their band mate for a version of "Rapper's Delight." Turning into a live jukebox stacked with hip hop's finest, the group proceeded to play snippets of Biz Markie, Talib Kweli, Wu-Tang Clan (which saw Black Thought doing a fantastic impersonation of Ol' Dirty Bastard), A Tribe Called Quest, Salt-N-Pepa, and even a little Justin Timberlake.

      Looking to bring the focus back to their own band, drummer ?uestlove and percussionist F. Knuckles left attendees stunned with their brilliant drumming duet before the group ended with Things Fall Apart's "You Got Me" and "The Next Movement." After their scorching set it came as little surprise that fans would be screaming for an encore, and The Roots didn't disappoint. The highlight of the encore came when Knuckles dropped one of his drum sticks while playing. Looking to have a bit of fun, instead of running another one over to him one of the member's of the road crew decided to throw it the length of the stage while Knuckles was playing. Hitting his instruments with one hand he reached up with the other and yanked it out of the air without missing a beat. If that doesn't perfectly sum up how good the group were tonight, then I don't know what will. It may be only January, but mark this gig down as one of 2007's best.
report by shawn

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buttonmag files : The Roots

buttonThe Untouchables (07/01/15 @ Shibuya O-East) : reviewed by shawn

The official site

The Roots


check 'em? -->The Roots

The latest album

The Roots
"Game Theory"

(US import / 国内盤 / The Roots - Game Theory)
previous works

"Do You Want More?!!!??! " (US import/ 国内盤)
" The Tipping Point " (US import / The Roots - The Tipping Point)
"Organix" (US import)
"Illadelph Halflife " (US import/ 国内盤 / The Roots - Illadelp Halflife)
"The Roots Come Alive" (US import / The Roots - The Roots Come Alive)
"Present " (US import)
"Things Fall Apart " (US import / The Roots - Things Fall Apart)
"Home Grown! The Beginner's Guide to Understanding the Roots, Vol. 1" (US import / 国内盤 / The Roots - Home Grown! The Beginner's Guide to Understanding the Roots, Vol. 1)
"Home Grown! The Beginner's Guide to Understanding the Roots, Vol. 2" (US import / 国内盤 / The Roots - Home Grown! - The Beginner's Guide to Understanding The Roots, Vol. 2)
"Phrenology " (US import / The Roots - Phrenology)

check the albums?

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buttonThe Untouchables : The Roots (15th Jan. @ Shibuya O-East)


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