The Roots @ Melon-AX, Seoul (21st Jan. '09）
Nothing Short Of Legendary
Tonight marked The Roots' first and likely last concert in South Korea. The long-running Philadelphia hip hop act have spent much of their acclaimed career gigging around the globe behind each of their eight brilliant studio efforts, earning them a well-deserved spot on Rolling Stone magazine's list of best live acts in the world a few years back.
But as the time-tested saying goes, "all good things must come to an end," and after thousands of shows, late last year the group announced that they were retiring from the road. They'll still be performing, but the majority of their playing will be on an American late night television talk show where they'll be the in-house band starting in March.
After a short video showing The Roots making their way through the airport and heading into Seoul was screened, the house lights dimmed and the act's newest addition, highly entertaining sousaphone player Tuba Gooding Jr., marched out followed closely by his six band mates. Black Thought picked up his mic and stated matter-of-factly, "People in the place, just to let you know you're about to meet the best." Mere seconds into tightly-woven opener "Thought @ Work" from 2002's Phrenology there was little doubt in the minds of the thousand or so people in attendance that his words were true.
With things heating up in Melon-AX members began peeling off layers of clothing while playing "Here I Come." The vibe on stage was really loose and fun with percussionist F. Knuckles and Gooding Jr. jumping around together, but the sound was bang on as the band tore through each well-played number with precision and style.
The title cut from 2006's Game Theory came off spectacularly, its intro drawn out and stripped down to just keys and percussion. Black Thought crooned the song's Sly & the Family Stone sample, "This is a game. I'm your specimen," a cappella before things exploded with a powerful wave of funk that had the whole room grooving and pumping their fists. Top-notch versions of fan favourites "Star," "Proceed," and "Step Into The Realm" did little to curb the audience's enthusiasm as the party atmosphere continued.
The bulk of the band retreated backstage for a short breather while Questlove and Knuckles teamed up for an awesome drum solo. Not wanting to miss out on the fun, Black Thought and keyboardist Kamal re-appeared at the side of the stage sipping drinks to watch what came close to being the highlight of the night.
I say close because as great as Questlove and Knuckles were, they couldn't compete with the awe-inspiring playing of guitarist Captain Kirk Douglas during the set's extended take of breakthrough single "You Got Me" from 1999's Things Fall Apart. Douglas handled backup vocals for the first part of the number before unleashing a Peter Frampton-esque guitar solo that slowly morphed into "Sweet Child O' Mine." Strobe lights flashed as The Roots briefly became a metal group while rocking out to the Guns N' Roses classic. Douglas and Black Thought then traded off vocals on an abbreviated cover of George Thorogood's "Bad To The Bone." The guitarist stalked the stage while showing off his remarkable versatility and musicianship while leading the group back into "You Got Me" as attendees roared in delight.
"The Next Movement" closed out the show, but there was no way the riled up audience was letting the band pack it in just yet. Chants of "Roots" echoed through the large venue until the guys re-emerged and kicked into "The Seed 2.0." The already energetic cut was given an extra shot of adrenalin when the act worked in a portion of Curtis Mayfield's "Get On Up." Bassist Owen Biddle, Gooding Jr., and Douglas jumped into the photo pit to play and dance with the bouncing bodies up front. Making their way back onto the stage, Kamal, Knuckles, and Black Thought joined the trio for some fancy Roots two-stepping as the night wound down. Black Thought proclaimed, "We are the legendary Roots crew" and you would have been hard pressed to find a single person who would've disagreed.
Although the band's new TV gig is an excellent opportunity to showcase their talent, their departure from touring has to make any true lover of live music a little sad. Making the most of their only opportunity to witness hip hop's finest, the people of Seoul definitely enjoyed their time with The Roots.
report by shawn
Nothing Short Of Legendary : The Roots (21st Jan. @ Melon-AX, Seoul)
Day Three - Still More Minty Goodness To Be Had : Grand Mint Festival feat. Orgeltanz, Sun Stroke, Starry-Eyed, Loro and more (17th to 19th Oct. @ Olympic Park, Seoul)
Rock And Roll All Nite : Judas Priest (21st Sept. @ Olympic Gymnasium, Seoul)
Better Late... : Envy, Bulssazo (18th Jul. @ Rolling Hall, Seoul)
Clubbin' It By The River : Cocore, Kyoto Jazz Massive, and Hollow Jan in Next Floor 08 (28th Jun. @ Hangang Park, Seoul)
Music Is A Universal Language : Tenniscoats with Vidulgi Ooyoo (7th Jun. @ Liveclub Ssam, Seoul)
This Is Music : Love Camp 2008 feat. Oriental Lucy, The Plastic Day, Sagitta, Yukie Sato and more (31st May. @ in Hong Chon, Kangwon-do, Korea)
Fuck Being Rock Stars : Bulssazo (24th May. @ Bowie, Seoul)
Rocking Out In Style : The Moonshiners (16th May. @ 500, Seoul)
Classy Digs + Awesome Acts = Memorable Night : Oriental Lucy with The Plastic Day, Sagitta (26th Apr. @ 500, Seoul)
Saturday Night Fever : Gumx (15th Mar. @ Club Spot, Seoul)
Next Stop: New Orleans : Harry Conick Jr. (13th Mar. @ Sejong Center for the Performing Arts, Seoul)
On Fire : The Rocktigers (9th Mar. @ Sangsang Madang Live Hall, Seoul)
Get The Party Started : Cocore (29th Feb. @ Club DGBD, Seoul)
Out Of This World : Björk (19th Feb. @ Olympic Hall, Seoul)
No Rust On This Machine : Rage Against The Machine (9th Feb. @ Makuhari Messe Kokusai Tenjijo)
A Cause For Dance : The Afet Collective (8th Feb. @ Harajuku Studio Cafe)
Music Makes The Perfect Gift : Swinging Popsicle (26th Jan. @ Baekam Art Hall, Seoul)
At The (Co) Core, It's Still Rock N' Roll : Cocore (19th Jan. @ Blue Spirit, Seoul)
Good Ol' Fashioned Hardcore Workout : Terror and The Geeks (5th Jan. @ Skunk Hell, Seoul)
Shirt N' Tie Affair : Oh! Brother and Cabinet Singalongs (22nd Dec. @ Velvet Banana Club, Seoul)
The Blues : The Zoobombs (10th Oct. @ Starlight, Waterloo, Ontario)
Girls Just Want To Have Fun : The Pipettes (9th Aug. @ Harajuku Astro Hall)
For Those About To Rock : Metalchicks (16th Jun. @ Shibuya O-Nest)
Great Expectations : Asakusa Jinta (12th May @ Yoyogi Zher The Zoo)
Interview : Everybody Dance Now : The Afet Collective (22nd May.)
Thank You For Not Being White : Think About Life (3rd May @ Harajuku Astro Hall)
Too Good To Resist : Bleach with Midori, Electric Eel Shock, Detroit7 (23rd Apr. @ Shimokitazawa Shelter)
History Repeating : Flogging Molly (16th Apr. @ Shibuya AX)
The Self-Proclaimed World's Third Best Punk Band : Converge (7th Apr. @ Shinkiba Studio Coast)
Don't Forget Your Manners : Converge (16th Mar. @ Shimokitazawa Club 251)
They Don't Build Them Like They Used To : Yo La Tengo (19th Feb. @ Shibuya O-East)
Smoking Hot : Isis with These Arms Are Snakes, Boris (29th Jan. @ Shibuya Club Quattro
Hot In Herre : Calexico with Iron & Wine (27th Jan. @ Shibuya Club Quattro
You Can Always Come Back Home : Deerhoof (20th Jan. @ Shinjuku Loft)
The Untouchables : The Roots (15th Jan. @ Shibuya O-East)
Dream A Little Dream : The Album Leaf (13th Jan. @ Liquidroom Ebisu)
Here Today ... Gone To Hell : Arab Strap (11th Dec. @ Shibuya O-Nest)
Mo' Mo' Mo' Mo'some : Mo'some Tonebender (2nd Dec. @ Shibuya AX)
Good Things Come In Threes : Bleach with Ni-Hao!, Watusi Zombie (5th Nov. @ Yoyogi Zher the Zoo)
Glitter And Mop-tops : The Zutons (2nd Oct. @ Shibuya AX)
Twisting Minds And Tanning Behinds : Asylum Street Spankers (17h Sept. @ Shibuya Club Quattro)
DVD review : I Know I'm Not Alone : Michael Franti & Spearhead (4th Oct.)
Melodic Metal Monday : Dark Tranquility w/ Galneryus (1th Sept. @ Daikanyama Unit)
Give Me Something I Can Dance To! : Fangsanalsatan Extra feat. The Stars, Boris, Guitar Wolf (22nd Jul. @ Shinjuku Loft)
Melting Everything In Their Path : Melt-Banana (9th Jul. @ Yokohama Club 24)
Never Too Old To Party : Shonen Knife (8th Jul. @ Shibuya Club Quattro)