Ice Cube in Osaka, Japan on May 2 2010
Great show, Cube. Too short though, what's up with that? 1 hour isn't enough.
Cube, WC, and Crazy Toones played a great set. They did 2 new songs, Rep That West and Drink The Koolaid. They did a couple songs from Lethal Injection, some NWA songs including Chin Check (at least Cube's part of it), a couple songs from Predator, one from Death Certificate and one from Kill at Will, 2 from Laugh Now Cry Later, 3 Westside Connection songs (I think they were just going to do 2, but Cube decided on the fly to add in West Up), 2 from War and Peace II, and Natural Born Killers. They did NO songs from Raw Footage. That surprised me.
The set was 1 hour long. I don't know if that's because this was just a promo tour in advance of "I am the West" release, or if it's because the venue was a fucking teeny bopper venue that closes at 9:30 PM (which it is). There was also no encore. So again, I don't know if that's because they were in a rush to finish because of the closing time, or if it was because of a lack of response from the crowd or something.
The venue was pretty small, it fits a max of 500 and it wasn't full, so I'm estimating the crowd at 400. That was great because I was about 3 meters from Ice Cube without having to push up to the front. The audience seemed to be mostly young hip hop kids, a much younger crowd than I expected and I think a lot of them just came because it was a rap concert and didn't know Ice Cube that well. Or maybe they knew him mostly from his movies and recent singles. They were all enjoying themselves, but in Japan audiences just stare at the artist and don't do a lot of jumping or dancing or shouting. They stand there and stare. Cube and the others were working hard to get a reaction out of them, but most just bopped their heads calmy. It's a Japanese thing, Cube. That's as hype as they ever normally get. But Cube and crew seemed confused by it, I hope that's not the reason the set was short because the kids really were enjoying it. After the show the Japanese social network Mixi was buzzing with talk about the show. They just don't show their excitement outwardly. They also barely speak English so a lot of the stuff you say to get the crowd hyped up goes over their heads. Like Cube said "Osaka, are ya'll havin' a good time tonight?" and the crowd was silent. Then Cube kind of stopped and looked at the people in the front row and said "Today...good?" and a couple people went "Yeah!" I think they started cutting out or cutting short their on-stage dialog.
The sound quality at this show was incredible. The last time I saw Cube was Lollapalooza '92 and that was hype as fuck but this time the sound was far far better than I remember. Cube's killing it with his live vocals and flows seemlessly with WC. You could really hear all of his phrasing and tonality really well. That's rare at rap concerts.
The way they link songs together is on stage is crazy. They did some stuff like play the intro sound effects to one song so you're expecting that one, but then they dropped the beat for a different song so you'd be surprised. Or they'd cut off the lead-in to some songs and start from right at the beginning of the first verse so the vocals hit you in the face without any time to prepare for them. They also changed the beats a little bit for parts of certain songs.
Weird things that happened:
* Ice Cube threw a mic at WC. I think part of the show is to pass his mic to WC and then do the C-walk. But I think he just flung the mic without really looking and it did a tail-spin and hit WC, then hit the floor with a big thud. WC looked PISSED.
* Crazy Toones did an interlude and was cutting up some beats but then stopped and just played some old jazz record for 2 or 3 minutes, without cutting anything. We weren't sure if he was pissed because the crowd wasn't cheering him, or if that's part of the show to create low energy before the next song.
Great show, I had a great time. Just wish it was a half hour longer.
If anyone from Lench Mob is reading this, I hope you make Japan a priority. People here don't do illegal downloads. The hip hop scene might be smaller here, but if you make 10 fans in Japan, you'll probably sell 10 records (or more 'cuz they'll buy the old shit too). That's the truth. It would be wild to see Ice Cube at the Summer Sonic Festivals in Osaka and Tokyo.