Beastie Boys

It's only until you see these guys live that you realise just how special they are. They've been around so long it's easy to forget or take for granted the reasons for being a fan. But last night it all came flooding back. There really is no one quite like them. As they waltzed effortlessly through a never ending back catalogue from punk gems like Heart Attack Man, Hip Hop classics like Shake Your Rump and their new instrumental jams you can't help to marvel at how they move from one genre to another maintaining full control and sincerity. They do it all and do it all better than most. Sporting cheap suits and shades and with the exception of a rather elderly looking MCA who stared longingly at his guitar during the hip hop numbers these guys never stopped moving and would run rings around most young bands now. Highlights were opener Time For Livin', So What'cha Want and the ferocious closer Sabotage featuring dare-devil stunts by Money Mark. Truly awesome.

BC - 4 Stars

Both they, and we are now a little older.  The granddaddies of hip-hop/rock/punk/lounge moved casually through the eras and the styles.  Not many acts could pull this off so casually and convincingly. Mix-Master Mike kept the classics interesting with his old-skool beats and occasional lyrical input.  Highlights: Brass Monkey, Shake Your Rump, and the mosh-pitt crowd coming out of retirement for finale Sabotage. I also felt that having heard the tracks live the latest offering The Mix Up is deserving of more attention.

CJ - 4 Stars

21 years since they first hit Brixton Academy, Raising Hell with Run DMC and getting the Sun readers all worked up about the possibility of their VW logos being liberated, the Beastie Boys (II Men) are back. New songs from this year's instrumental jam fest The Mix-Up work much better in the wider context of the BBCatalogue, breaking things up rather than sounding like they're just arsing around in the studio for a bit. Thought the sound was a bit woolly at times, with MCA's bass so distorted that it was on the verge of being some generic low rumble, rather than the kick-ass riff machine it should be, and Ad Rock's guitar a little lost too - Mike D's drums cut through with some pretty crisp beats though, holding down the fort, with Mix Master Mike's turtabletricknologismery pretty entertaining. Stand out tracks for me were Gratitude, Shake Your Rump(ah!), So What'cha Want, 3 MCs and Sabotage - think that's still in at least one version of my all-time top ten. Also amusing to see that Money Mark still jumps up and down on his keyboard exactly the same way he did last time I saw them back in 95 (Hong Kong Stadium, with Foo Fighters and Sonic Youth on the bill - that's a proper support act).

C71 - 3.5 Stars

I must admit I was slightly skeptical about this show. After easily being my favourite live band for many years, 1999's upgrade to Wembley Arena was very dissapointing - although to be fair it was the crowd that sucked not the band (too many fair weather Hello Nasty fans sitting not singing).

All that was quickly brushed aside here, as I couldn't have wished for a better start than Time For Livin' (although technically you could say Biz vs The Nuge was the real opener). Their was never a sign of age kicking in, other than their choice of suits. Mike D's reflections of playing Brixton in '86 ("Google that y'all") brought it all home - this is a band that has always moved forwards and kept things going in their own unique style.

Mix Master Mike has turned out to be the best signing the group ever made, and his constantly surprising beats and pieces constantly kept things fressssh. As a pure hip-hop band they have to be up at the top of the pile with their mic passing styles (So Watcha Want, Ch-Check It Out), but add a punk band (Heart Attack Man, Egg Raid On Mojo), a rock band (Sabotage, Gratitude) and some lounge jazz (Electric Worm, Live At P.J.'s) to the mix and this band is unsurpassable. Brilliant.

CSF - 4 Stars

Set List:
Mix Master Mike Intro
Time For Livin'
Off The Grid
Root Down
Super Disco Breakin'
Sure Shot
Shake Your Rump
Live At PJ's
Remote Control
Electric Worm
Lighten Up
Tough Guy
Brass Monkey
Pass The Mic
Flute Loop
Skills To PayThe Bills
Time To Get Ill
Son Of Neckbone
The Gala Event
Egg Raid On Mojo
Alright Hear This
Ch-check It Out
Body Movin'
3 MC's
So What'cha want

Heartattack man