Public Enemy at the Ogden, 2/19/11

Photo: Eric Gruneisen

With Chali 2na
2.19.11 | Ogden Theatre

Public Enemy has, for upwards of 26 years, put out rousing music that incites the masses both on recordings and in a live setting. Last night at the Ogden Theatre, though, the crew showed out as if they had something to prove. Don't call it a comeback. They've been here for years, and they tore the roof off the joint using the same classic material as always.

Photo: Eric Gruneisen
Chali 2na
I arrived at the Ogden right at the end of Chali 2na's set from Jurassic 5; the only remnants of his performance were the DJ tables, low lights, and a thick layer of marijuana smoke that apparently impeded the start of Public Enemy's show. The opening hype man informed the crowd that they would have to "stop smoking because Chuck is sick and he does not like weed smoke."

After a few moments of "This is hip-hop, do it for unity," the smoke cleared and the party got started. As is the Public Enemy on-stage tradition, the set began with two strapping gentlemen in military uniforms coming out to very nicely choreographed soldier stepping/salute routine before the bassist, the legendary Bass Davy D, kicked the joint into high gear.

Photo: Eric Gruneisen
Flava Flav
Chuck D let the band play with the beat down low while he introduced each person, from DJ to security (who were wearing "Fight the Power" T-shirts, and mean-mugging the crowd with a relaxed focus), and got the crowd most hyped for, you guessed it, Flavor Flav.

As the reality-TV star emerged from the back wearing a sweatshirt and his signature clock, the crowd went absolutely wild. Packed from front to back and top to bottom, the Ogden just erupted for Flav.

Thanking the people for supporting him throughout his "second job in television," he gave the spiel for his latest business endeavor, a Kennedy Fried Chicken joint, which are found on blocks all over New York City.

He could have been advertising cyanide and these folks would have eaten it up. After running through a few rough cuts and a medley from Apocalypse 91, Chuck D told the band to kick it up, and they roared through the rest of the set.

It began like a hip-hop lesson: telling the story of how the first dis' track from Flav directed at New York City radio master Mr. Magic came about, right before he launched into "Cold Lampin With Flavor" and it was so incredibly classic. This was not lost on the audience, who could have fist-pumped into eternity.

Location Info


Ogden Theatre

935 E. Colfax Ave., Denver, CO

Category: Music

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Why can't all hip-hop be this legit?

Bea Shepard
Bea Shepard

That drummer with Chali 2na was the legendary Fish of Fishbone. And Flav's restaurant (the first one) has just opened in Iowa. 2na's set was live, with that excellent, mellow sound mix and consistent groove for which he is known. It started beastly early, at 8:15, because all three groups had stacks of material to perform. With the huge speakers so close to the VIP balcony, where I was lucky enough to hang for the show, Public Enemy's characteristic screeching sounds actually tore up my son's ears, which I found completely ironic. I use earplugs ever since Julox's volume left a month of moving fluid in my left ear when he opened for GURU several years ago. So I didn't suffer from the screeching. But my son's complaints after the show were VERBATIM the complaints I made in the late 80's when he was first blasting Public Enemy at my horrified mom-self. I guess what goes around really does come around...


The drummer was from Fishbone

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