Wednesday 24 July 2013

Jurassic 5 // Live Review, Leeds O2 Academy

Hip hop heroes Jurassic 5 may have been away for a while, having split up back in 2007. However, they are back and on their much anticipated reunion tour after their first set in seven years at the recent Coachella music festival.

Now bringing the tour to the UK, Est.1987 headed down to Leeds’ O2 Academy to see what the genre heavyweights had in store…

By the time the Los Angeles six piece take to the stage at Leeds’ O2 Academy the crowd is suitably warmed up and ready to find out what the much anticipated reunion tour from Jurassic 5 has to offer. “Back 4 U” is the perfect kickstarter to the night.

 “I don’t know if everybody knows us personally as individuals…so let me just introduce everybody”, and so each of the four rappers takes a verse whilst original Jurassic 5 DJs, Cut Chemist and DJ Nu-Mark provide the music. And with the introductions out of the way the night comes into its own.
With a huge back catalogue to pick from, the set is a dynamic and varied affair; lesser known album tracks sit alongside hit singles such as “Freedom” and the chilled out tones of “Quality Control”. Indeed the entire set is effortless, with the packed out crowd perfectly safe in the hands of the hip hop heavyweights.

Charisma in abundance, Jurassic 5 do the perfect job of bringing LA party vibes to the northern UK stage. Getting the entire audience involved, whether it’s heading out into the crowd or teaching them the odd dance move or two, what’s clear is that they are experts in putting on a stage show; this is more than just a live set, it’s an all inclusive event. And as they ease through “Jayou” and “Improvise” they prove that their upbeat style, fun lyricism and play on words is still taken seriously in the modern hip hop age. Classic Jurassic 5 tracks are instant on stage winners and their lengthy set doesn’t pause for one second. The band is polished and upbeat, and most importantly they aren’t afraid just to be up there having fun, something which is infectious and immediately transferred to the audience. The room is packed out to the rafters; the floor is a sea of jumping bodies, whilst the rest lean over the balcony mouthing back every word. A mixed crowd, it is fair to say that Jurassic 5 have a universal appeal. However, it is “Concrete Schoolyard”, perhaps their most loved hit which produces a wave of nostalgia which rides across the room.

The set flows with ease, and alongside collective performances there’s a DJ set, an acapella performance of “Without A Doubt” and a playful dance routine by the entire band. It’s fair to say that the crowd leave fully satisfied; Jurassic 5 certainly know how to please. And when it comes to encores they don’t do things by halves either; a trio of tunes closes the polished performance perfectly. The infectious “What’s Golden” finishes the night in style.

Skillful and slick, Jurassic 5 isn’t just about one main MC or one DJ; they act as a collective of voices and this isn’t a show about egos. They may have made that jump to commercial success and the dreaded “mainstream”, but tonight any dismay from their fans about this success is long forgotten because what is clear is that they certainly know how to put on a show. 9/10