6th February | O2 Academy, Bristol
Tonight, the remaining original members of LA rap group The Pharcyde are running through the bulk of their classic ‘92 debut Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde. Released during the point when Dr.Dre was cooking up the G-funk phenomenon in the aftermath of NWA’s chaotic dissolution, The Pharcyde trod a completely different path.
Rather than allying themselves to the glamourised debauchery and ultra-violence that defined the most common perceptions of West Coast hip-hop: The Pharcyde opted for wacky, THC influenced humour while aligning themselves closer to the enlightened mentality of the then blossoming Hieroglyphics collective and the East Coast’s jazzy Native Tongues movement.
After sticking to the longstanding hip-hop tradition of being at least 20 minutes late, The Pharcyde eventually arrive to the springy piano chords of Oh Shit, showcasing impressive levels of kinetic energy. They jog from side to side of the stage, breakout into synchronised dance routines, and lean over the crowd barrier whenever there’s a plunge in audience intensity levels. And while running through tunes like Ya Mama, Passing Me By and Pack The Pipe, they actually sound pretty tight, performing Bizarre Ride’s heavily rhythmic, often half-sung rhymes with precision.
We’re treated to the Dilla-produced hit Runnin’ from The Pharcyde’s smoother and more sober sophomore Labcabincalifornia during the encore, but really it’s a dusty golden era which this incarnation of the group excel in. An attempted ‘Swag’ chant fails to take off – it doesn’t fit with tonight’s time warp – and although The Pharcyde are running purely on nostalgia, at least they’re successfully safeguarding the legacy of a classic record.
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Words: David Reed