Old school hip hop legends Bizarre Ride (formerly The Pharcyde) kicked off their 2017 tour with a visit to The Fleece on Wednesday. We headed to the hip hop head haven to relive the classic album live some 25 years on.
The popularity of Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde back in the 90s was in part due to how different the record was at a time when gangster rap was on the rise on the West Coast. It’s an album that has only grown in stature over the years. The youth and enthusiasm of the crowd echoed this, a lot of who may not have even started walking in ‘92. The event certainly wasn’t a mid-week sell out, yet the crowd was made up of real fans who clearly listened to the album more than a few times.
It’s an album that has only grown in stature over the years. The youth and enthusiasm of the crowd echoed this
Oh Shit fired up the crowd and started the show with a bang as the three frontmen worked the stage well. The visualisations both behind the stage and on the sides added another dimension to the standard minimalistic approach that a lot of hip hop groups run with. The predominately white crowd seemed to particularly enjoy I’m That Type of Nigga, however the numbers seemed to thin out during the middle of the set.
The chilled, quirky, stoner stage presence of Slimkid3 and co seemed to rub off on the crowd, yet there were plenty of jokes and heavily physical interaction on display much to the delight of the front row. The jokes, as we know, continue into their music with some punchy and easily repeatable verses being hollered by the fans.
The jokes, as we know, continue into their music with some punchy and easily repeatable verses being hollered by the fans
As is usually the case, the less than enthusiastic cheer from the crowd when asked “Who wants to hear some new shit?” epitomised what people were there for. The beat production and flow of the two tunes selected was in keeping with the Pharcyde sound, however it needed an injection of Ya Mama to re-engage the fading energy of the crowd. This song still receiving laughs two-and-half decades later.
the less than enthusiastic cheer from the crowd when asked “Who wants to hear some new shit?” epitomised what people were there for
A quick reminiscing session about J Dilla and other late rappers lead to a series of solid impersonations including Biggie and Busta Rhymes, which tickled the crowd.
The set finished strongly with classics like She Said, Runnin and of course the golden child of Bizarre Ride II, Passin Me By doing what they intended. Though the years may have skimmed a few layers of funk from them, the jazzy, upbeat, positive roots of the old Pharcyde songs touched home and provided for an enjoyable evening. I would love to see this show at a sold out venue, but hey you can’t have it all.
Words by Callum Rees