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A torch beam fires out of the dark before an enormous sub-bass boom ignites Cypress’ huge skull logo in blue. The rest of the stage then floods with light to unleash a hip hop show of fantastical proportions. Openers ‘Get Em Up’, ‘Hand On The Pump’, ‘When The Shit Goes Down’ and ‘How I Could Just Kill A Man’ are classics set ablaze, with insane freestyle percussion throughout from Eric Bobo, who adds a crisp layer of intensity.
The performance, sound and high levels of production completely dispel any fear of another cash-in nostalgia tour, which is so often the case with rap outfits. Better still is the moment when Sen Dog shouts, “this is dedicated to a certain herb”. He’s a spokesman for a band that actually has ‘weed medley’ written on their setlist. And, clichés aside, it smells fucking great in here. But things are far from mellow, as flying glasses of beer puncture the rising smoke plumes above the dancefloor. In every direction people are high on the band’s energy as ‘Tequila Sunrise’ and ‘Insane In The Brain’ smash forth, the crowd totally immersed in the moment. Then DJ Julio G unleashes an incredible scratch show, synchronising the lights around his decks with every cut. Midway through, loco vocalist and front man B-Real finishes off a massive spliff and joins the DJ juggle, both men circling each other in a jaw-dropping display.
Then the stage lights flash from decks to percussion in a momentous call-and-response showdown. ‘Hits From The Bong’, ‘Cock The Hammer’ and ‘Lick A Shot’ all follow, sending The Forum into red-eyed tears of delirium, before their new material, made alongside Rusko, gets an airing. The rolling dubstep basslines work for the youngsters but don’t hit the same show-stopping heights. Nevertheless, the ‘Rock Superstar’ finale finishes this gig as it started: on a high, on the peak of Cypress Hill, where the grass is greener on every side. Phil Dudman