If Aftermath never sets foot inside another rock concert for the rest of our life, we will still more than likely not pass a drug test until our grandson's freshmen year of college thanks to the giddily oppressive contact high alone at Cypress Hill Tuesday night. How people were actually smoking the stuff being passed around will boggle our minds, at least until the next time Snoop Dogg comes to town.
Cypress Hill is now a 20-year institution of Latin hip-hop beats, fuzzy rhymes and clouds of smoke that rival that which any cigar bar on a Friday night Aftermath has ever seen. We hit the venue around 9:30 p.m. and by the time the band came onstage an hour later, we could barely tap out messages on our phone. Words were being dropped. We thought about tying our shoes for nearly five minutes.
Cypress came out blazing, literally, to "Get Em Up" from the new Rise Up LP, their first set of original material in six years. The shiny stuff was just as anthemic as anything from the group's past two decades. From then on Cypress ran through every anthem in their repertoire; each was met with another wave of pot smoke, and the air grew hazier with each verse of every song.
"How I Could Just Kill A Man" from the group's self-titled 1991 debut vibrated the room. We got our bearings half an hour into the show only to see people coming out of the crowd with wide smiles, looking as if an invisible ghost was tickling them. One girl on the upper barrier was dancing like she was getting paid during the first few songs, but by "Latin Lingo" she was mainly watching her hands glide by her face.
When "Insane in the Brain" came on we felt like we were inside an anti-drug PSA, with every one of our mother's fears about our job coming to pass. A group in front of us smoked like they were at gunpoint, puffing dramatically with an almost ritualistic fervor. It's Cypress Hill's "I Wanna Be Sedated," still potent 17 years past its debut.
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With about one-third of the show left, Aftermath saw a girl get dragged out by her boyfriend (kidnapper?). It was hard to tell if she was being belligerent or if it was just lights-out. In the end, it took another two friends to get her out the door. We can only imagine what the police outside were thinking. Around this time, singer B-Real lit up onstage and it was lights-out for most of the fuzzy folks down front as well.
Towards the end the crowd was sluggish, and the band settled into a tighter instrumental groove for a good 30 minutes, with "Pigs" and "Illusions" coming forth from the stage. By this point we were wishing for the fresh air of the car and the relaxing din of talk radio. "I Ain't Going Out Like That" and "Rock Superstar" closed out the show, and by the halfway point of the latter we were walking to our car.