Last week I had the pleasure of attending and photographing Wu Tang Clan producer "Ghostface Killah". Yesterday I had the pleasure of hearing the album "Twelve Reasons to Die", that the tour was built around and let me tell you I am drunk on that Wu ish as much as I was the first time I heard C.R.E.A.M.
The Wu Tang members have been putting in much work lately as I also photographed Method Man a month ago. I speculate that they're going to do something big for their 20 year anniversary.
I got to the concert venue Neumos, early as usual as I almost always grab a quick bite at the restaurant next door Moe bar. This time I had the fish & chips and again I was extremely happy with the quality. I'd put their "fish supper" up against any "chipper" in the UK, and that's saying a lot.
I looked at the line up, and I noticed that there was only one opening group. I thought that was weird. Then I saw that Ghostface was going to do a rather long set. Score!!! Then, I noticed that the entire stage was covered with instruments. Was Ghostface going to do a complete set with live instruments? It certainly looked like it especially since after the opening act was done they started unplugging the turntables and mixers. Score again!!! This was going to be a truly epic show.
Seattle Hip Hop group "The 3rdz" - photo by sureshotfoto.com
First up was a group that I was unfamiliar with called "The 3rdz." Unfortunately, I was only able to catch two songs but I was very impressed and I'd very much like to catch these guys again and see a full show.
Sonny Bonoho performing "Concubine Juicy" -photo by sureshotfoto.com
I did notice that they called my guy "Sonny Bonoho" up on stage. I was excited to see him perform as I've met him under other circumstances and I knew that he made some moves with another local artist that I work with a lot named "Aquino." Sonny got on stage and proceeded to murder it with his single "Concubine Juicy." Now I wouldn't say that this song is the kind of thing that usually lives on my iPod or other play lists, but I'm all about Sonny's craziness and antics. See for yourself. I filmed it with my Iphone:
Sonny Bonoho performing "Concubine Juicy" Seattle @ Neumos -video by sureshotfoto.com
See? Told you he's a little crazy but in a good way right?
"The 3rdz" -photo by sureshotfoto.com
Next up was Ghostface right? Not exactly. It was his band "Adrian Younges' Venice Dawn." This group looked to be a disparate collection of artists but maybe that's what they were going for. I don't know. What I do know is that about 5 seconds into the first song I could tell that this "disparate" group is so because each and every member is an all star. Their music and the songs on this album are quintessentially Ghostface and Wu but at the same time they're fresh, new and sometimes risky. More on the album later.
"Adrian Younges' Venice Dawn" setting up for "Ghostface Killah" -photo by sureshotfoto.com
"Ghostface's" band "Adrian Younges' Venice Dawn" gettin' it in -photo by sureshotfoto.com
Adrian Younge himself -photo by sureshotfoto.com
Once Adrian and his crew had the crowd sufficiently warmed up then came "Pretty Tony" aka "Iron Man" aka "Tony Starks" aka "Ghostface Killah!" The crowd went absolutely nuts. Being born and raised in Seattle I love to see our hometown really give it up to an artist especially a real hip hop god like "Ghostface."
"Ghostface Killah" is in the house!!! -photo by sureshotfoto.com
"Ghost's" set was a mixture of old and new. He performed some of the Wu classics, and he did some of his new stuff of course. The combination of the band with Killah's rapier sharp lyrics were undoubtedly the concoction of an evil hip hop genius. That's the only way I can describe it.
Ghostface Killah spittin' fire -photos by sureshotfoto.com
Ghostface being a main member of one of the most important hip hop groups ever knows that good enough is never enough. So, not only did he bring in a complete band with vocalists he brought with him another of the illest emcees out there in "Killah Priest." What the what!? In the middle of the set, in the middle of a song "Priest" burst's on the stage start's spittin' some of the coldest verses ever.
"Ghostface Killah" background, "Killah Priest" foreground. Two "Killahs" no waiting -photo by sureshotfoto.com
This was turning into one of those nights that you never wanted to end but, unfortunately it had to. Ghostface and Killah Priest ended the night with some classic Wu Joints. Ghostface hung around and talked to fans, signed autographs and took pictures and then he was ghost....
Ghostface showing love to fans after the show -photo by sureshotfoto.com
Now the album.....
I was able to get my hands on it yesterday, and all I can say is this is one of the must have hip hop albums of the year no doubt. This takes me back to the good old Wu days but with a bit of newschool/oldschool experimental feel. Everyone know's that Ghostface is gonna bring it but what about the relative newcomer in his collaborator and band leader Adrian Younge. As I said earlier this guy and his crew are solid with a capital solid! I got the deluxe edition of the album which include instrumental tracks in addition to the songs.
In my humble opinion the stand out tracks are the first single "Blood On the Cobblestones", "Enemies All Around Me", "I Declare War", and of course "The Sure Shot." Honestly, there are no weak tracks on this album. This is definitely an album that can be played through from A to Z.
This album is available via Spotify now but you really should support our guy and buy it on iTunes here.
Check out some of our previous posts: