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Happy 25th birthday to Beastie Boys’ Ill Communication; watch the new mini-documentary Still Ill

Beastie Boys | photo by Ari Marcopoulos | courtesy of the artist

Legendary rap trio Beastie Boys conquered world-wide stages and the air waves all throughout the 80’s and 90’s. Key members Michael “Mike D” Diamond, Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz, and the late Adam “MCA” Yauch had an irresistible sound that captivated millions of listeners, particularly on their fourth LP, Ill Communication, released 25 years ago today. The album features some of the group’s biggest hits — “Sure Shot,” “Sabotage,” and “Get It Together” to name a few — and to mark the occasion, Amazon has collaborated with the group to bring fans a mini-documentary titled Still Ill. Continue reading →

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Beastie Boys Story is long, funny, and poignant, but still…

photo by Casey Landman

Did you ever have mixed feelings about a show as you were watching it, but couldn’t leave because much of it is your story?  Or the story of your friends from the 70s through the 90s, and is poignant, and often hilarious…and there’s this curiosity as to how this thing plays out despite occasional long dull lulls, unrehearsed awkwardness and frustrating hints that somebody wants to break out in song? Or rap? And of course you adore the performers on stage for the art they made and they men they became? And then Jonah Hill and Tim Meadows — the latter playing Bob Dylan at a party — stopped by?

Welcome to my review of Beastie Boys Story on Friday night at the Tower. As directed and filmed by their old pal and “Sabotage” director Spike Jonze for an unspecified film project, the Upper Darby gig always moved and felt like more of a soft opening for the upcoming Brooklyn shows — all developed, in part, as an audio/visual accompaniment to their autobiographical best seller Beastie Boys Book. Then again, as recounted toward Show’s finale by a now-grey-haired Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz, he and Michael “Mike D” Diamond had not been on stage together as Beasties since “the last gig” at Bonnaroo, before the death of their beloved friend, band starter and force-for-good, Adam “MCA” Yauch seven years ago. Continue reading →

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You can become a part of the Beastie Boys Story – filmed at the Tower Theater

Beastie Boys | Still from video

The Beastie Boys are documenting their legacy this spring with three live shows that will become a part of a film called “Beastie Boys Story Told By Ad Rock & Mike D.” Ahead of two NYC shows, the project will kick off with a show right here in Philly at the Tower Theater on April 5.

Last October, Beastie Boys members Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz and Michael “Mike D” Diamond released a seemingly career-culminating memoir, “Beastie Boys Book,” which recounted stories from their decades-long run. But with this announcement, which Horovitz and Diamond revealed to Amazon Music’s Nathan Brackett at a SXSW panel this week, it’s clear that the Beastie Boys aren’t finished yet. Continue reading →

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Watch the Beastie Boys bring Hello Nasty to the CoreStates Center in August of 1998

Beastie Boys at the First Union Center | still from video

NYC rhymesayers Beastie Boys were at a point of reinvention when they came to Philadelphia on August 20, 1998. They had a solid decade under their belts as a hip-hop combo — longer as a punk band — and with their fifth LP, Hello Nasty, they were pushing things further still. Out was the psychedelic groove and contemplative flow that defined their previous two albums, the iconic Ill Communication and Check Your Head; in was a retro-futuristic clubby sound, based around turntablist big beats and cartoonish sound bites, with no shortage of contagious energy.

For the live show, out were longtime collaborators DJ Hurricane and percussionist Mark Bobo, in was Mix Master Mike on the 1s and 2s, Alfredo Ortiz on the drums, and an expanded role for keyboardist “Money Mark” Nishita. On the band were coordinated red jump suits, while the band was on a slowly rotating stage as they performed in the round in the center of the CoreStates Center (the name the Wells Fargo Center went by at the time). Continue reading →

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Night Panther takes a cue from Beastie Boys in “Fever” video (playing Johnny Brenda’s on 12/21)

Explosions, expletives, exotic dancers – OH MY! Local disco duo Night Panther’s video for their single “Fever” features all the elements you could expect to see in a Tarantino film (plus a car chase!) in just under 12 minutes – but in a lo-fi, campier style, naturally. The video pulls elements of Beastie Boys’ 1994 “Sabotage” video, making its lengthy running time pass quickly with a story of murder, drug wars, and unfulfilled vengeance. (Please note that viewers should watch with caution as all the bold words above appear quite vividly in the video.) You can check out the band playing at Johnny Brenda’s on December 21st- go here for more information.

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From the Vaults: DJ Hurricane collaborates with The Roots’ Black Thought, The Beastie Boys’ Adrock

Rough-weather days like this always get me thinking about one of my favorite musical Hurricanes, the one that rocked the ones and twos for The Beastie Boys between 1987 and 1998. On this track from DJ Hurricane‘s 2000 full-length Don’t Sleep, we hear Black Thought from The Roots making a tremendous appearance on the second half of the song, nearly outshining The King Adrock who kicks off the funky jam with a lively verse of common Beasties-isms. Listen to “Kickin’ Wicked Rhymes” below.

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Beastie Boys tribute night coming to The Fire on August 7th

It’s been a rough few months since Beastie Boys founding member Adam Yauch passed away at the all-too-tender age of 47. Though his absence leaves a yawning void in our hearts, his legacy as MCA leaves decades of amazing, groundbreaking music well worth celebrating. And that’s precisely the point of the event the folks at The Fire have put together. Brooklyn rap-rocker Don McCloskey will host an evening of music from DJs, MCs, and a house tribute band including local artistsChuck Treece, Tom Spiker, Damon Bennet, and Travis Woodson. Admission to the 21+ event is $10; show starts at 9. More info is available on the Facebook event page.

Below, watch the video for “Sabotage” from Beastie Boys’ 1994 Ill Communication. You know you want to.