The Beasties have spoiled stadium rock for an entire generation. No-one else should be allowed to play the enormodome circuit. It would be too great a disappointment. The sound is pure excitement and adrenalin, boiled down to a deafening, super-dense crackle of sparking hardcore, titanic hip-hop, and lurid, liquid funk dribbling from the speakers. And, yeah, maybe there ARE better rappers than the Beasties, like there are better hardcore units, better jazz-funk-fusion outfits. But when it comes to throwing the whole gamut into a brilliant, barely-gelling bundle which sends the entire teen/20-something population of Scotland absolutely, seethingly MENTAL, the Boys have few, if any, peers.
The anticipation before they come onstage is positively flammable. It's so obvious that every single person in this venue loves the Beastie Boys. They would sell their livers to be up onstage with 'em. Everybody wants to be a Beastie Boy, and their simple cool, their attainable chic, their 'aw shit we're just goofy kids, can you believe we get paid to do this?' schtick (which is no doubt the simple, guileless truth) just accentuates this. And, as unctuous as the encroaching uniformity of Beastie-style is in its hegemony over several generations, when the Boys leap on (match to touchpaper) dressed in short white shirts and geeky ties, bounding and bouncing like they're revving for orbit, you can't deny how much more fun they look than the dreary Ben Sherman-chic of a few years back. They've got that so-uncool-we're-cool x-factor working overtime.
And so to the gimmicks. Well, they are, in fact, few and far between, and, save for the rotating, circular stage, blessedly lo-fi in execution and dumb-smart in theory; for the |ber-lope of "So What'cha Want" the video-screens display dancing sock puppets on the hands of their caterers backstage (Flat Eric if he preferred baggy over Sta-Prest), for the nosebleed shriek of "Nervous Assistant" they play superimposed footage of a moshing parakeet. The segues between styles are seamless (not slick).
And why not? 'Cos, no matter if it's thrash or rap or funk the Beasties are duking with, they always cut the fabric to suit their style (hip-hop is turned into irresistible stentorian thud, hardcore into sheer sonic insolence, funk to clipped, flab-free groove). It always fits.
"Sabotage" is, of course, the encore, transforming the kids into a swarming sea of punk-skunk-funk piranhas. If you aren't even slightly tempted to join 'em, then you're thinking too hard. And, as the Beasties prove, that ain't always the smartest way to be.