Concerts

The Roots, McDowell Mountain Music Festival, 3/23/13

Page 2 of 2

Then, following a beautiful version of the band's own "Break You Off," the band launched into a cover of Guns N' Roses' "Sweet Child o' Mine," and guitarist "Captain" Kirk Douglas spent 20 or so minutes in the spotlight, as the song morphed into a rendition of George Thorogood's "Bad to the Bone," which mutated into Bo Diddley's "Who Do You Love," which shifted into Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song," and eventually someone was interpolating Super Beagles "Dust a Sound Boy," the dancehall hit sampled famously in Kanye West's "Mercy." I'll be honest: I got kinda lost.

It was the good kind of lost. The Roots, fronted by the dynamic Black Thought and led by the unassailable Questlove, played the role of a classic party band at McDowell Mountain Music Festival, closing out the evening on the main stage after local old-school rap-rock combo Cousins of the Wize brought their heavy sound to the local stage.

Phoenix reggae vet Walt Richardson introduced the band, noting the festival's 10-year anniversary and calling The Roots "one of the most exciting acts you're going to see here at the festival."

He was correct. The Roots tore into The Beastie Boys' "Paul Revere," dedicating the track to the late Adam "MCA" Yauch the song was as clanging and hyper as the Beasties ever were, with a deft confidence all their own. Douglas' guitar coiled around the booming bass and the blasting sousaphone of Damon "Tuba Gooding Jr." Bryson. From the onset, it was clear that The Roots' bass-heavy presentation was too much for the MMMF speakers -- massive as they were, The Roots were still managing to peak them out.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Jason P. Woodbury is a music and pop-culture writer based in Phoenix. He is a regular contributor to the music blog Aquarium Drunkard and co-host of the Transmissions podcast.