Ghostface Killah, Club Red, 8/23/12

See also: Ghostface Killah @ Club Red See also: Local DJ/Producer El-Jay Beats to Share The Stage with Ghostface Killah

Ghostface Killah @ CLUB RED | 8/23/12

Coming from rappers who know a thing or two about the power of the mixtape, last night's show featuring Ghostface Killah, Sheek Louch, and Saigon, went off with the familiarity of a plastic encased magnetic tape spool.

After passing through security, I weaved through the all-ages crowd and posted up at my usual spot in front of the bar. DJ Unknown tested the crowd's old-school rap acumen with tracks from the likes of KRS-One, Black Sheep, and The Pharcyde, playing short snippets of songs to rile up the crowd.

Leading up to El-Jay Beats and The Baker's set, MC Justus from local rap duo Cut Throat Logic was hyping the crowd by the time I got there, challenging the Valley's hip-hop heads to make noise. Before the local team came out, Justus announced them as Arizona's version of The Roots for incorporating a live band into their set. (A pretty lofty comparison.)

El-Jay manned the Mac, while various combinations of MC's rapped over drums, bass and guitar. While the live instrumentation worked well with the beats, the mic-killing was sometimes off pace, and lacked flow. After a 30-minute set, DJ Unknown returned to the wheels of steel for more classic record spinning and ficky-ficky-scratches.

At about 11:30 p.m., Ghostface, Sheek, and fellow Wu-Tang Clan affiliate Killah Priest took the stage.

Performing in advance of their collab project, Wu-Block, the Wu-Tang and D-Block members, tapped into their long-list of songs to get people moving. "Our catalogue is crazy," Sheek says. "We can be here all day." Familiar favorites included, "Money Power Respect," The Lox's, "Fuck You," "C.R.E.A.M.," and of course an Old Dirty Bastard tribute with, "Shimmy Shimmy Ya."

Most of the night played like a teaser trailer with the trio touching on a verse or two from crowd favorites before moving on to the next track. "This is the first shit right here," Ghostface says. "That's what makes this show special."

Referring to his and Sheek's recent collaboration, Ghostface implied that the two were still finding their stage presence together, but telling from the performance, the two are playing off of each other just fine. Wu-Block is expected to hit stores on October 9 and is promised to be, "the hardest album you've heard in 15 years."

Critic's Notebook:

Last Night: Ghostface Killah, Sheek Louch, Saigon, Killah Priest, and El-Jay Beats and The Bakers

The Crowd: Mix of low-cap wearing dudes and chicks.

Overheard in the crowd: "You know what, fuck you, you're an asshole." -- Lover's quarrel

Random Notebook Dump: That guy back there really likes O.D.B.

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Anthony Sandoval
Contact: Anthony Sandoval