SF Weekly.com's daily music site "All Shook Down" brings back a live feed of photos, interviews and commentary from the biggest hip-hop event of the Bay Area's 2007 -- Rock The Bells, in McCovey Cove, San Francisco, August 18, 2007.
Photo and Video Wrap-up
Final Words from Oscar Pascual --
So ends San Francisco’s Rock the Bells, and the satisfaction is setting in. A quick recap--
Murs did some verses off his classic catalog in between some real talk. He then played ...
So Cal anthem “L.A.” and screamed “Go Dodgers!” at AT&T Park. Damn right.
In between songs at the Blackalicious set, I could faintly hear Public Enemy play “Can’t Truss It.” It sounded insanely hard and I instantly wished I was over there instead. No disrespect to Blacka, they played a fine set. But damn that song is raw.
MF Doom didn’t show up. What’s up with this dude? First the shit he pulled at the Independent shows and now this. Every album he puts out is emcee gold but Doom’s really pissing off a lot of fans and hip-hop artists alike. Boo this man!
Rage Against The Machine returned and gathered a coalition of the willing, son! Zack De La Rocha’s got so much command in his Preacherman voice, I would follow him fearlessly into a battle against orks, stormtroopers, metal gears and Pat Buchanan. So long as Tom Morello is shredding those Hellfire power chords to give me the will to dispatch my would-be dispatchers. Fuck you I won’t do what you tell me!
10:47 more video:
Blackalicious and crowd
Rage closes with the good ole, fuck you I won't do what ya tell me. Here's some video.
Rage Against the Machine
'As Good as Audiotistic': Blacka on RTB SF
Blackalicious interview after their set, in their van:
Chief likes to talk, Gab not so much.
Working on follow-up to 2005's the Craft. They say it'll be done by '08. Both have a bunch of side projects: ChiefXcel's working with Lateef on an album, working with his keyboardist Herve Salters on a clavinet and drum driven piece called "Walking Into a Burning House'. Working with Vers from Lifesavas.
Gift of Gab's sophomore solo effort comes out in 08, he says. Both agree today's event is the biggest event in hip hop of the year.
How did you handle trying to outplay Public Enemy?
'Even that sentence is sacralidge,' says Chief Xcel. 'They're the reason why we're even here today.'
Xcel is stoked on Blacka's New Year's date in Australia.
They both want to see Wu and Rage tonight. Haven't seen either before.
What do you guys look for in a performance?
XCel: When they break from the recording and do something different.
Gift: Whether or not the artist really wants to be there. You can tell and it transfers to the crowd.
Gift signing out:
"This is the #1 event of 2007 for hip hop. I can't remember anything like this since Audiotistic."
7:27 p.m. Obtained Blackalicious set list:
Pad and Pen
World of Vibration
Rock the Spot
First in Flight
Sky is Falling
Side to side
7:22 p.m. Just learned a crafty trick from some dastardly fool. Implement at your own discretion. With force and gusto, make way to front of stage while yelling "I gotta throw up, move!" as grossed out masses clear way. -p
7:19 p.m. Your boy P is trying to brave the storm and get right into the upfront shit for Wu and Rage. My bad on the excessive 'bows thrown, family. I believe RTB is swelling to near capacity. High five for everyone wearing deodorant. -p
7:00 p.m. Cypress Hill hasn't been too significant since the mid 90's, but they remain fun to puff Buddha to. Plus, it's pretty awesome to belt lyrics about killing dudes without having to worry about catching a case.
Beastie alert: Two extended B-Boy fam are reppin RTB with other crews. Percussionist Alfredo Ortiz offered his rhythm sticks to Blackalicious while Eric Bobo hits (drum) skins with Cypress hill. The Beasties love the drums. Catch them next weekend in both SF and Berkeley. Now excuse me while I take this small chronic break. -p
Crowd estimated at 50,000 plus. Security says the main stage is cracking. Pulling fools out left and right. The Paid Dues stage is all mellow, though. Murs' edict holds. Blackalicious holds court on the 2nd stage against Public Enemy and holds it down. As Public enemy runs through classics, Gift of Gab makes stuff up on the spot. A devastating performance for the Bay Area set.
Roots battled the Coup for the afternoon funk. Both proved there's nothing nicer than sundrenched soul. Thought it felt more JB than MC, backed by a smooth horn section and the perennial gold-glove Roots band. By that, I mean they play with no errors. -Oscar Pascual
Living Legend Murs might've just given the most erudite, revolutionary set of the day on the small stage.
He questioned the point of revolution in America, he challenged the conventions of hip hop performance, and he embraced consumer culture while chiding the angst-ridden in attendance to dare and vote. Murs for president, indeed.
Amidst a crowd highly anticipating Revloution a la Rage, Murs spoke for peace and love, and chilling the fuck out.
"There's nothing to be mad about!" he said, either referring to the rage crowd or the earlier "fight the power" antics of the openers. "Fuck being mad."
"I'm not going to talk about no revolution. I like my house. I like my car. I worked hard and bought an iPhone. Fuck!"
Then he turned the the "simon says" tropes of rap.
""Motherfuckas, say, ho!" [crowd says, ho]
"Don't say ho. What does that mean? Where does that originate?" he said. "I'm in a new state of realization. How much you scream does not validate me or your enjoyment of me. You paid, didn't you? If you want to scream, scream. But I'm not going to stand up here and tell you to wave your hands or yell. Don't say shit, if you don't feel like it."
Mur on politics. "Try voting," he said. "Vote and let the rest of that shit works it self out. And when you leave, exit in an orderly fashion. Make it so we can have this again next year. The cops, the hear "ragainst the machine" and they freak the fuck out. Chill out. Be happy. I'm probablty the only perosn who's going to use that word today. Happy."
Note: Murs just got a deal with Warner. Hs A&R man is credited with Common and Black Starr. Go murs.
This shit is so grandiose, Pharoahe Monch just came on and threw down his ill banger "Simon Says." When a crowd of thousands are yelling "Simon say get the fuck up!" in the middle of broad daylight, it makes you wonder what else today has in store.
Hip hop is here to stay, bitches!
Here's the Ground Rules, Bay Area! No touching on bathing suit parts!:
Event Info you need to know for Saturday August 18th.
(McCovey Cove (parking lot) , San Francisco)
We're looking forward seeing everyone at the show. Here is some information you should know before you arrive at the venue:
Doors open on August 18th at 11:00 AM and the show will end at approximately 10:00 PM. The line to enter the facility will be at the port walk next to AT&T Park. Event staff will direct you across Lefty ODoul Bridge and into the concert venue. If you have a VIP ticket, you can enter on the corner of Mission Rock and Terry Francois Blvd. You must have a valid VIP ticket to use this entrance.
Will call is located at AT&T Park box office on the port walk side of the stadium
McCovey Cove Parking Lot is located just south of AT&T Park in San Francisco. We are expecting a sold out show and parking is very limited so we strongly encourage you to take public transportation to the show.
* Caltrains: Runs from the peninsula and South Bay - go to www.caltrain.com for schedule - get off on 4th and King Station.
* Bart: Take to Montgomery Station or Embarcadero Station and then walk or transfer to Muni metro (J or T line/inbound pick up at Civic Center, Powell, Montgomery or Embarcadero). For schedule info visit www.bart.gov
* Golden Gate Ferry will run a special ferry for this show that departs from the Larkspur Ferry Building at 1pm and will drop off at AT&T Park. The ferry will then depart AT&T park at 11pm - Ferry tickets are available at www.tickets.com
There is bicycle parking available at AT&T Park. Parking will open at 9 am and close at 11pm - go to www.sfbike.org/giants for more information.
If you must drive to the event, we highly recommend carpooling.
Driving directions to the concert site are as follows:
* From Peninsula/South Bay - take 280 north or 101 north to 280 north. Take the Mariposa street exit. Turn right onto Mariposa Street and turn left onto 3rd street lot or one of the below parking lots:
o Pier 30/32 on embarkadero
o Mission Bay parking garage - 16th and Owens
o 5th and Mission parking Garage
o 5th and Howard parking Lot
o 75 Howard Street
* From East Bay - take Bay Bridge to the 5th street exit. Continue onto Harrison Street off the freeway and be in the 3 left lanes. Turn left on 6th St. and continue onto 280 south. Take first exit at 18th street and continue over the freeway on 18th. Turn left onto 3rd street and follow signs to available parking lots.
* From North Bay - take the Golden Gate Bridge to the Marina Blvd exit. Continue on Marina blvd and turn left on Bay street. Continue on Bay and turn right on Embarcadero. Park at pier 30/32 or continue on the Embarcadero until it turns into King Street. Turn Left on 3rd Street .
Things we recommend you bring to the show:
* One factory sealed water bottle per person.
* Bring several layers of clothes. The temperature in San Francisco can fluctuate throughout the day.
* Sun block
* Food in small soft sided containers or bags
* Small bags and backpacks
* ATM/Debit card, we will have ATM's inside the venue and all food and beverage stands are cash only.
* Valid government issued ID if you plan to drink alcohol.
Things you should NOT bring with you to the show:
* Cans or glass bottles. Only factory sealed water bottles are allowed
* No alcohol or contraband. There will be a full search as you enter the event
* Lawn chairs or folding chairs
* No professional cameras, video or audio equipment
* No weapons of any kind
* Large bags or hard sided coolers
If you arrive at the venue with any of these items you will not be admitted, so please check your bags before you leave home to ensure that you won't have a problem at the door.
One last important note. We encourage you NOT to buy tickets from any street vendors or scalpers. There's a good chance you will be purchasing a counterfeit ticket that will not be valid at this event. We cannot assist you in getting your money back on tickets purchased from street vendors.
Please forward the above information to any friends attending the event so that everyone can have the best time possible at the show.
We're looking forward to seeing everybody at this monumental event!
The doors open. At least a thousand wait in line in backpacks, flip-flops and big glasses. They hail from all over America -- claiming Washington D.C., Missouri, Portland -- and they're all in town to catch something different.
The Roots, says one.
Talib Kweli, says another.
Jedi Mind Tricks, says a third.
And of course, Rage Against the Machine, Wu-Tang, and Public Enemy.
(SF Set Times):
The weather is a warm 65 degrees and sunny, thank Christ. Even God wants SF to have a decent event.
Major points of the day for me: an upcoming interview with Chang Weisberg, an examination of the MF Doom set. He pissed off SF this week by lip syncing. An interview with local Blackalicious. And of course, the Rage set. Who doesn't want to see how well they aged compared to the good old days of street fighting and tear gas? In a sense, the present reality only solidifies Rage's irrelevance. They and their chanting millions proved powerless to stop 8 years in the Bushes, the deaths of 100s of thousands, and the slow long slide of America into a consumerist lull. Mmmm, lull.
In other news: Rock the Bells, Sacramento just got canceled:
RTB NEWS UPDATE: AUGUST 15, 2007
The Rock the Bells Festival date scheduled for Sunday, August 19 at the Sleep Train Pavilion near Sacramento, CA has unfortunately been cancelled due to slow ticket sales.
Fans will be able to receive full refunds at their original point of purchase. The tour will be in the Northern California area on Saturday, August 18 for a sold out show at McCovey’s Cove in San Francisco.
Festival founder Chang Weisberg from promoter Guerilla Union adds, "I am disappointed that we weren't able to sell enough tickets to bring the full Rock The Bells experience to Sacramento this year.
Unfortunately our San Francisco show was too popular. We know that over 4,000 people are coming from the Sacramento area based on our online ticket sales info. We kinda hurt ourselves with our own ambition to play Sacramento this year. We hope to bring Rock The Bells back to this area very soon.
Which totally plays into arguments like this one about hip hop being dead. Yes, album sales are slow. But I don't think that fucking matters to a single soul spinning 'Funky Cold Medina' at a karaoke bar, or rocking 'The Seed' in their ride Saturday night, or puffing trees to 'America's Most Blunted.'