“Party over here, not you over there.”| Blackalicious Live Review & Concert Photos | The State Theatre, St. Petersburg, Fl | August 12, 2015

by • August 21, 2015

The State Theatre. in St. Petersburg on Wednesday was rolling with positive and smooth vibes all night, except for when it wasn’t, but we will get to that in a moment.

Local musician DJ Mega started the mood with a remix of various hip-hop artists that tended to the crowd’s needs and interests. The atmosphere was closer to what felt like a house party in a movie like, well, House Party. It was a fantastic way of ushering in the crowd. Though it was early and people were still slowly filling the room, it’s nice to see the use of the stage lights considering many opening acts I’ve seen through the years have only the plain white stage lights on. This was fitting and welcomed.

Blackalicious Live Review & Concert Photos

At 8:30, there was a surprise unannounced performance by B.C. from WMNF 88.5. Lacking a crew, he performed with just his iPod. The beats and production of the music sounded great, and at times, I forgot there wasn’t even a DJ behind him. I was very impressed with B.C. He spoke with fluidity, heart, and power. Obviously insanely talented, he should be playing in the big leagues. He would benefit a lot from collaborating on stage with some like-minded individuals. He could at the very least rule the Tampa Bay hip-hop scene.

After a 30 minute set, it went back to DJ Mega for a short while as we waited for New Orleans’ own, New Breed Brass Band.

9:15: the NOLA band hit the stage. Unfortunately, even though their instruments were on stage all night leading up to this point, they still weren’t completely ready. This made for a nice awkward moment as they fiddled around stage waiting for other members to give the go ahead. As one of the band members starts to introduce everyone to the band in the middle of the awkwardness, he is quickly interrupted by another voice saying, “These shirts right here are for sale!” Come on man, play a song first. At least sweet-talk us a little before you stick your finger in our ass. Anyway, I digress.

Finally, they started to play to what could only be considered pure brass bliss. These are the kind of guys I want to play at my neighborhood block party. It made me feel like the time I had joined a second line, but this time it was led by what seemed to be Berklee grads. I am a huge sucker for staccatos and theirs were on point. They did a great job transporting us to different eras and geographical regions with their music. One moment, I felt like I was in a 1920’s speakeasy. The next, I was in a fancy club in the 1950s, sipping a drink with Don Draper. After that, I felt the vibes of salsa dancing and then the rhythm of the funk, all this in just one song! The only thing that disappointed me was the overuse of the group chanting vocals. It is the only thing that keeps them from standing far enough out from the rest of the second line bands.

Blackalicious Live Review & Concert Photos

The guys in the New Breed Brass Band are insanely talented, and I look forward to seeing what they do in the future. Before I knew it, they were done. “What the shit?” Their set was only about 35 minutes. It would have been nice to hear some more, but on to the main attraction.

After a long one hour change-over thanks to faulty equipment, Blackalicious finally takes the stage close to 11. The set started with Gift of Gab doing the “Alphabet Aerobics.” They had a lovely treat for St. Pete when they brought Jumbo, from the group Lifesavas, and Lateef the Truthspeaker out to the stage. Everyone’s favorite song based off of the 26 letters of the english alphabet was followed by “Blazing Arrow.” This is where the crowd started to really get the feeling of how this show was going to go. Everyone was having a blast.

Next up was their new song, “Blacka.” This made my night for two different reasons. The song started with Gift of Gab going a cappella with his indistinct, able voice as clear as day. I mentioned earlier that I am a sucker for staccatos. I’m also a sucker for irony. The beautiful irony of the night was when Blackalicious asked the predominantly minty white crowd to chant “Blacka Blacka Blacka” to a song that brings the listener through what could almost be considered a time-table of proud black history.

Blackalicious Live Review & Concert Photos

Throughout the night, Jumbo and Lateef kept the mood going with their own rhymes and as hype men for when Gift of Gab was doing a verse. Lateef stood out as the best performer of the entire night. Full of energy and incredible skills, he captured the audience, surely ensnaring a few new lifelong fans. The song that possibly got the most audience reaction was “Deception.” Everyone went nuts for the crowd favorite that was followed by “Paragraph President” and “Rhythm Sticks?”

Close to the end, the group got the crowd going with a “cheer battle” between opposite sides of the crowd. I personally liked the choice of the chant, “Party over here, not you over there.” Remember how I said I love staccatos and irony? Guess which one popped its head up again? Trying to get the crowd to go even louder, it was demanded that the crowd screams loud enough to make their ancestors proud, innocent enough, but hilarious all the same. Making the crowd into an intro, without missing a beat they went into “First in Flight.” The final song of the night… “What about an encore?”… Hang on, let me finish! The final song of the night was “Make You Feel That Way” that then launched into a freestyle session. This was another highlight of the night, showing the intense skills these hip-hop veterans possess.

After a little tease and some heavy cheering, the group came back out for an encore. The crowd went bonkers for another tongue twisting song, “Chemical Calisthenics.” It appeared as though Blackalicious knew this was the one song everybody felt was missing from the show.

Then it was time to say goodnight to a fantastic evening. Though there were some hiccups and missteps, they were overshadowed by a great night of music and performances. Those who thought about coming, but decided not, missed out terribly.

Blackalicious Live Review by S.T. Register, edited by Matthew Weller.
Blackalicious Live Concert Photos by Brian Schanck.

[Not a valid template]

Check out our South Florida SIGT Website! 

Shows I Go To South Florida Giveaway, Reviews, Photos, and more

Please support our friends who support us! Tell them Shows I Go To sends love! 🙂

Recommended Posts