House of Pain, Big B Warehouse Live March 26, 2011
See more jumping around from Warehouse Live Saturday in our slideshow.
Walking up to Warehouse live Saturday night, Aftermath wasn't sure what to expect of House of Pain's Houston reunion stop.
We heard through the grapevine, "it had been moved to the smaller room because they had only sold 100 tickets," and were a bit heartbroken. "House of Pain deserves better than that," we thought.
We really had nothing to worry about.
So as we approach the door to Warehouse Live, and see what looks like a really late St Patrick's day party on the porch. We see green clover stamped T-shirts abound and one lady who is wearing a leather-type vest with the Soviet Union stamp on it and what looks like a blinking red bicycle light on top of it. Really, what the hell? We're celebrating the Irish, can't you see?
Then we remember DJ Lethal of the original House of Pain is of Latvian decent and Latvia, as you well know from your studies, was once part of the Soviet Union. So there. The joke's on us. It all makes sense.
Anyway, we walk in just in time to catch Big B, a California-born, Nevada-raised rapper, who blends rap and rock together to create a really diverse live experience.
Here's what you need to know about Big B: He looks like a big teddy bear, but like bears, they look cute, but they'll claw you to death. No pun intended, but Big B is a big presence on stage. His cross of hip-hop and easy, feel-good alternative background tunes makes his work easy to digest and just really enjoyable, so his being part of this tour made real sense.
There were instances where he came across as a really capable lyricist but his tracks are real anthemic, meant for hooligans tattooed head to toe . He also sells T-shirts that say "tattooed white trash mother fucker" and yells "fuck the police" to his audience. Although we had never heard of him before, you better believe we are paying attention now. Big B. Get with it.
So as we make ourselves to the bar, we notice the crowd has to be three times the rumored 100 people, and wonder whether House of Pain would put on a good show. Just then, a guy who had way too much to drink begins to vomit violently at the bar and has the courtesy and incredible wherewithal to steal plastic cups from the bartender as he's letting out his internal organs, filling each one to the rim and politely placing them side by side on the bar, like shots.
Of course there's massive spillover and pissed-off bartenders but it was a real sign that, yes, this would be a fantastic show. Grandma talked to us about good omens, and only at a House of Pain concert would a man vomiting be a good sign. Thanks be to God.
We weren't let down. Everlast comes out looking like a much older version than what we remember, but he's aging in a very distinguished way. White beard, flannel and a Kangol hat matched with his incredible voice make up a guy who could snatch your chick and you'd shake his hand in appreciation. Danny Boy O'Connor, on the other hand, looks exactly the same - still the effective hype man and complement.
As soon as House of Pain comes on stage, the scent of marijuana fills the room and armed with a bass guitar, drums, a DJ and a memorable discography of rap and alternative classics from the '90s and early '00s, House of Pain executes against their live band meets hip-hop experience beautifully. And Bun B is in attendance.
They raised the roof, to put it plainly. The first half of the show was dedicated to the hip-hop that put them on the map and the second to Everlast's alternative career that found him prominence and a second life in the music industry, punctuated by none other than "Jump Around."
The House of Pain portion was hype opening up with "Danny Boy, Danny Boy," then onto "Boom Shalock Lock Boom," followed by "Who's The Man?" - a nice start. Later, they pay respects to the late Guru of Gang Starr by performing the classic "Just to Get a Rep," at which point the show elevated in energy.
The crowd was equally pleased as Everlast transitioned to his signature hit "What It's Like" and its sister alternative tunes, but the anticipation for "Jump Around" was high. For the most part Saturday's crowd was a well-behaved one, but on cue, once House of Pain blew the lid off the roof with the opening lyrics of their flagship track, mosh pits and fistfights broke out that sent part of the crowd into a frenzy.
Just like the video, people. We were slammed against the bar at the exact same spot where the guy threw up his guts. The humanity.
The good news is that though both bodies of work differ in sound to the average listener, House of Pain's work and Everlast's career married nicely. The chemistry was right.
Seamless transitions between genres, a loyal fan base and the nostalgia that circulated the crowd pleased the mid-to-late '70s and early-'80s babies in attendance. The common element of a live band allowed the discographies of Everlast and House of Pain to blend.
House of Pain perhaps isn't as flexible and jumpy as they used to be - that happens with age - but they haven't lost their swag or luster. They're groomed and seasoned live performers.
Personal Bias: We love Irish girls with red hair. God bless them.
The Crowd: Mostly thirtysomething, rowdy, real hip-hop lovers. You won't find this crowd doing the "Dougie."
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Overheard In the Crowd: "There sure are lots of leg tattoos in here."
Random Notebook Dump: How is it we gave $3 to a homeless man who found us street parking and promised to look after our car, but found his way into the venue and asked us to buy him a drink? (We complied.)