All photos by Emily Price
For their last song, the band turned to the crowd for a request, and after a few moments of shouts from the audience, they settled on "Blue Angel." It began to drizzle as frontman Stu McLamb sang the first line, appropriately enough, but most of the rain held off until later in the evening. Their excellent forty minute set came to an end entirely too soon.
On the other hand, No Age's set felt entirely too long. The Los Angeles trio is difficult to place in terms of a genre — rock? punk? experimental? — but their set just sounded like noise. An electric guitar and some synth ruled the air while drummer Dean Spunt's vocals were almost entirely inaudible. They had several issues with amps and mics going out, but the performance overall was pretty lackluster. To a longtime No Age fan, it may have been excellent, but for a new listener its overwhelming loudness paired with underwhelming content.
When it came time for them to hit the stage, Public Enemy decided to tease the crowd a bit. They first brought in Raleigh's amazing Helping Hand Mission marching band to play in the street. The band never made it to the stage, but they got a great energy going. Next came a trio of female rappers who went by the name Crewwr Grrl Order, who played a brief yet pretty intense set.
Finally, Public Enemy arrived. Chuck D and company completely owned the stage, pumping up the crowd more and more with each song. Flava Flav took some time between songs to thank the audience for making him the number one reality television star in the world. The gesture was pretty unnecessary (I just want to hear Public Enemy, damn it!), but it didn't effect the set much in the long run.
One factor that did effect the set was the rain, which really began to come down not long after Public Enemy began. Several people tried to get away and stand under the awnings of nearby buildings, but for most, the rain didn't matter a single bit. The crowd rocked along with the group, throwing their fists up in support at almost every possible opportunity. Public Enemy may have seemed like a wild card in the mostly indie rock lineup, but their massively fun set was an excellent kick-off to another night of music in downtown Raleigh.
The Love Language
Crew Grrl Order