“All the weed smokers, make some noise,” said a member of the Living Legends, feeding off the college-boy vibe of the crowd. Last Saturday, their sold-out appearance at the Hub provoked calm, yet collected, energy as they ran through numerous tracks from Classic, their new album. Known for their fiercely independent business ethic, the loose hip hop collective delivered a nearly flawless show, along with performers Jedi Mind Tricks, Pigeon John and Santa Barbara’s own DJ Soulspeak and the Protractors.
The key was the Legends’ years of experience, as they showed a grace of execution unseen in other groups. Members such as Aesop and the Grouch kicked amateur hip hop in the face, smoothly driving their rhymes into their patrons’ ears. Some of them even dressed for the occasion, as one especially prominent Legend wore a baseball catcher’s chest protector. The response was enormously enthusiastic, with many singing along to every word. Not all attendants were from UCSB, but it’s logical to assume that some of their biggest (and drunkest) fans were of the UC clan.
Co-headliners Jedi Mind Tricks were slightly more brutal, delivering cuts picked equally from 2004’s Legacy of Blood and other albums. This was the band’s last show on the tour, well deserved since its members have been slugging it out since March. The show went out with a violent bang, as the Jedi Mind Tricks’ brand of hip hop was more offensive and incendiary than the Legends’. Although the Tricks’ politically minded songs went off well with the crowd, the intensity of the anger was jarring in comparison to the celebratory tone of the other acts.
Pigeon John, on the other hand, was the hopeless romantic of the night, singing songs about broken hearts and offering dollar bills to the crowd. But DJ Soulspeak, a native of Santa Barbara, was especially surprising. Songs from his ingenious album Satelliteheads could have worked wonders on the crowd, but his early set time prevented many from seeing him in action. All said, this cosmopolitan hip hop show was immensely diverse and enjoyable. Hopefully KCSB can continue to bring quality hip hop our way.