|Consumable #151, August 15, 1998
By Gur Rashal:
Have you ever been to an outdoor festival -- in the summer, mind you -- where the rain pounds on you relentlessly and you slosh around in mud for 10 to 48 hours? Apparently this is de rigueur in England. Unfortunately, being from sunny California, I wasn't quite prepared for Scotland's cold and wet welcome at this year's Tennants in the Park Festival in Kinross. About ready to ditch the bands and prevent hypothermia, I resolutely decided to stick around for the Beastie Boys' 9 p.m. set. Thank goodness I did.
Dressed strangely, albeit somewhat appropriately, in lab coats and knee-high rain boots, the three MC's, along with DJ MixMaster Mike of the Invisibl Skratch Picklz and old friend "Money Mark" Nishita on keyboards, delivered old-skool flava with new-skool vibes. Apart from headliners Pulp, this was probably the most anticipated set of the day, considering the four-year wait for the Beasties' newest album, Hello Nasty.
That considered, the performance was loose but fun, and showed clear signs that the now-thirtysomething trio are still getting settled into playing live again. AdRock, Mike D, and MC Adam Yauch set it all off with "Shake Your Rump" from second-album masterpiece Paul's Boutique. The hyper-raps on this track felt slightly neutralized by MixMaster Mike's super-scratching, but the playful vibe still won out, and it's a treat to hear the old-skool roots take over from Ill Communication's less rap-heavy fare. If you weren't jumping and cheering along at the opening lines of this track, you would be for the rest of the set -- not just because of the crowd's energy, but also so you didn't sink into the mud. Spurred on by the crowd's collective jump-start into the festival spirit, they showed off their stop-action robotic moves and ran through a bunch of Nasty tracks as well as greatest hits, including "So Whatcha Want," "Root Down," "Super Disco Breakin'," and "Intergalactic."
From the between-set banter (including a lot of shout-outs to nonviolence and world peace), the setlist and the vibe seemed pretty flexible. "Yo, what song we doin' next?" asks MCA as the boys take an impromptu vote amongst themselves. AdRock shouts out the opening lines to "So Whatcha Want" with gangsta fury only to have everyone abruptly start over. He shrugged his shoulders and explained to the crowd with a smile, "Sorry, sorry...these things happen sometimes, you know."
Their punk roots also figured heavily, with the three getting behind their instruments and banging out tracks like "Egg Raid On Mojo" and "Sabotage," of course, which was part of the mix-mastered encore that gamely teased us with samples from "Brass Monkey." Non-song highlights included a birthday cake in the face of their tour manager, and Money Mark ending the set by smashing his keyboards like a banshee. The 3 MC's walked off quietly, with cordial goodbyes and smiles all round. After a good 40-minute workout, the mud in my shoes was now a warm, comforting goo.