Read my full concert report of last week’s Cypress Hill’s 2012 SmokeOut Festival below the cut and the video recap. For those who attended, it was a blast. Read more about it below.
Cypress Hill’s 2012 SmokeOut Festival was THE concert gathering in Southern California. Having such a rich history through the years and has evolved and changed bringing an array of acts including what you’d normally expect from the curators of the festival Cypress Hill, who also performed. But also acts like Mexico City’s Cafe Tacuba, Bakersfield rockers Korn, Dub-Stepper Rusko and MSKRFT jolted the crowd and brought variety throughout the day.
While the plumes of smoke drifted through the air, the capacity crowd squeezed near the main stage to catch most of the main stream artists which included Wiz Khalifa and Sublime with Rome and the aforementioned Korn and Cypress Hill. I’d say by midday there must’ve been close to 10,000 people, guesstamations of course.
NOS Events Center is the facility where the concert was held at in San Bernardino, CA located 60 miles east of Los Angeles. Murs’ annual Paid Dues Festival happens here as well. Back in 1999 during the Van’s Warped Tour the same facility debuted a little known artist at the time by the name of Eminem, yes legends have played here.
Upon arriving at the the concert site, I got there just in time to see Mobb Deep’s early afternoon set on the main stage. I wasn’t going to miss this one. Prodigy and Havoc ripped through their performance with complete dedication playing cuts from throughout their career. While most hip hop acts would’ve gave you a minute or so of a song, then gab to themselves and the audience, Mobb Deep didn’t succumb to their egos, but paralyzed the crowd with full songs without breaks playing “Shook Ones”, “Quiet Storm” to newer cuts off of the “Black Cocaine” EP. Even one time G-Unit member 40 Glocc got in on the action and join the boys on stage. Being that 40 is from Colton, a small city next to San Bernardino, it seems a given that he would make an appearance with his Zoo Life crew in tow. By all indications of their SmokeOut performance, Mobb Deep staked their claim as true O.G.s in the hip hop game and for the day.
Besides the main stage, you really couldn’t ignore the talent on the other 2 stages at the different ends of the pavilion where such acts as Nipsey Hussle, Schoolboy Q, Fashwan and others entertained the crowd. There was some great performances in the rap genre, but were sadly under attended as the crowd preferred to see the bigger acts on the main stage. But hey, for those that were clued in it was fine by us because it was an opportunity see it up close. I would say the only other complaint that I had was that the “Low End Theory” stage, where Fashawn and Schoolboy Q played that the sound was too boomy. The hall was probably built back in the 50’s and is not used to hip hop concerts. With that said, the most memorable act on this stage was Schoolboy Q. He was also joined by AB-Soul and Top Dawg artist Jay Rock. Lots of energy. In the very near future, Schoolboy Q will be a name in hip hop to be reckoned with.
Checked out Cypress Hill’s founder and DJ, DJ Muggs and his late afternoon set at the “Massive Stoned Garden” stage, which is the other larger of the 2 auditoriums. Through out his career, Muggs has digested the rap genre, coined the term “Mash-Up” and is now a sound raider of the new genre – dub-step. I would say Muggs approaches this new form of music with a sinister slant, which is much appreciated. During his set, DJ MUGGS was seen with the massive lighting installation behind him, pulsating as he worked his DJ equipment in the shadows.
Earlier on the same stage, Nipsey Hussle gave a rousing set playing music from his mixtapes “The Marathon” and “The Marathon Continues”. Nipsey has transformed himself to a lyrical beast on stage, pacing and working the crowd. And the crowd loved it and showed Nipsey all the attention he deserves.
Up next, current DD172 recording and former Cash Money and No Limit artist Curren$y hit the stage. After seeing Curren$y at 2010’s Paid Dues Festival, his live performance has improved very much since then and he had a highly attended crowd checking out New Orleans’ native son.
One of the more interesting bands and choices to play the festival was Thievery Corporation. Not necessarily hip hop by any means, more like a amalgamation of jazzy fusion, with funky R&B and rock elements. They are a LIVE band with a horn section, bass player, guitarist, a live drummer and even a cat playing the Indian sitar. They were the true breakout band of the day. It was also a treat to see rapper Mr. Lif pop out of nowhere unexpectedly and perform a song with the group.
One act that I caught really by accident was Daedalus. He gets plugged into the hip hop category with his low frequency beats, but he was anything but. The only way I could describe it was, it was like standing in front of ten 747’s before take-off at the same time. Loud as F! He had some type of midi interface with buttons on it, connected to his Apple laptop. He was like a mad Ludwig programing each song as he mesmerized the crowd while a bizarre looping movie played on the screen behind him. Interesting and hypnotizing all at the same time. I can see why he is on Mike Patton’s (from 90’s rock band Faith No More) music label Ipacac. Mr. Patton tends to sign very non-commercial, non-conformist music to his independent label. Daedalus was all that and more.
Everyone was there to see Wiz Khalifa who had the prime spot of the day right as the afternoon sun light was dropping down. Wiz delivered! Last time we saw Wiz Khalifa in these parts was at 2011’s prestigious Coachella Festival, where he grabbed the golden ring for the day’s performance. SmokeOut was no less than a success for Wiz as he gave his audience all that he got performing the hits and promoting his up coming mixtape “Taylor Allderdice” with his live band.
As the day moved into night, Sublime with Rome played (who were actually kinda boring), then the mighty Cypress Hill hit the stage. Cypress Hill waisted no time moving through their live set playing all the greatest hits you’d expect, all the way up to their latest effort ‘Rise Up.’
A little TMZ moment: After Cypress Hill’s set and before Korn hit the stage, I had worked my way through the crowd and was by the middle isle, which was wide open between the p.a. system and make shift V.I.P. section and the stage. Before I knew it I see Amber Rose and Wiz Khalifa walking down this middle isle toward the V.I.P. section with people oohing and awwing. Next to Beyonce and Jay-Z, Wiz and Amber are rap’s royal couple at the moment. Reading in the hip hop press and gossip circles I always thought that they were a gimmick couple, dreamt up by one of these power PR agents. Not so, watching them they are very much in love and it appeared that they were the only 2 people in the room as far as they were concerned. Minutes later Cypress Hill’s B-Real was the impresario as Wiz Khalifa was treated by B-Real as his first class guest, hanging with Amber and Wiz during Korn’s set. Watching Amber watch Korn she was all smiles and it seemed she loved the band’s performance.
Korn hit the stage like a juggernaut, as this was their first stop of the Korn tour supporting their latest effort “The Path To Totality.” Korn were brillant, playing most of their material off of their latest album. They got a mix reaction from the crowd who is most used to the band playing their classics, but they did squeeze out some Korn staples like “Falling Away From Me”, “Got The Life” and the old-school favorite “Shoots and Ladders” toward the end of their nearly hour and a half set.
All in all the day was a victory, as Cypress Hill’s 2012 SmokeOut Festival came to a close. Lucky for me my Grandparent’s house is 10 minutes away, so I beat the masses living the concert and slept that night like a baby in no time. Till next year or whenever or wherever Cypress Hill decides to book the next SmokeOut Festival. Either way, it will always be a smashing success.
Concert report, all video and photos by C.A.