Concert Sutra: Down & Dirty With Snoop Dogg
by terri sapp
Photographs by terri sapp
© Concert Sutra, All Rights Reserved
July 26, 2008 turned out to be the most perfect time for my man Noel to come with me to his first 311 show! Besides the fact that 311 is a killer live band, there are two words to describe what set this night apart from any of the other many 311 shows I have witnessed…SNOOP DOGG!!! What a perfect lineup! Snoop Dogg and 311. Some might not think them a likely match for playing a show together, but Snoop Dogg brought his A game to the Lakewood Amphitheatre in the A town as well as the best live band I have seen support a Hip Hop artist in all of my adult life!! Over the years, I have made it my goal to see as many concerts as possible of all genres. At some hip hop shows (including previous Snoop Dogg performances I have attended), you just get the artist, the supplementary rappers, and a DJ. The very special nights are when you get the Hip Hop played truly live by real life musicians! It makes all the difference in the world. Even a music snob like Noel had to give it up for Snoop Dogg’s band! THEY ROCKED IT OUT!!! I can only give you two more words…Carlos McSwain, the drummer with the chops to match the greatest drummers in the world!
To get the party started Snoop played a recording of the theme song from his TV series, Father Hood. The stage is set with a big oversized marijuana leaf, a tricked out low rider bicycle, a huge cut out of the back of a woman’s body, an enormous bottle of Cognac, and a giant bong. To top it all off, there were security type of guys on each side of the stage dressed to the nines just standing around and holding it down.
All of a sudden some very dramatic music came through the speakers. Some Devil’s Advocate type of thing…like they were conjuring the almighty Snoop Dogg! “Atlanta, Georgia…are ya’ll ready for Snoop Dogg? Then make some muthafuckin’ noise!! How many a ya’ll smoke weed out there…then, get yo muthafuckin’ hands in the air!!!” What an intro!
And…BOOM! The bass was permeating! I could feel it all the way through my guts. The familiar melody of “Murder Was The Case That They Gave Me” rang out when the crew hit the stage. It was at this moment that I realized that the band Snoop brought was going to rock the night away. The guitar on “Murder” was totally jammin. How better to open up for a Rock band than to rock out your Hip Hop like I’ve never heard before!
I have always loved the song “Tha Shiznit,” so imagine my excitement to hear it with a rock beat thrown in. Again, the guitar is just right on point. “Chill to the next episode, I make money and I really don’t love hoes. Tell you the truth, I swoop in the Coupe, I used to sell loot, I used to shoot hoops.” “Boy it’s getting’ hot, yes indeed it is…Snoop Dogg on the mic I’m ‘bout as crazy as Biz Markie, spark the, chronic bud real quick and let me get into some fly gangsta shit!” These words take me right back to the very beginning of my love for the Doggfather. From the first time I heard/saw him on that first Dr. Dre joint, it was all over for me. Ever since, I have made it a mission to see/hear him at every chance I have gotten. Of course, my band 311 had the great taste enough to add him to their list of amazing bands they have toured with. I can totally believe that his “Lexus, flexes, from Long Beach to Texas!” I love that they began at the beginning, with songs from his first solo album, Doggystyle.
Snoop is in rare form tonight, as is his fashion statement…he came out sporting a one piece getup that appeared to be made out of a bunch of blue bandanas. I guess he was in full “Crip Hop” mode, because he KILLED this bouncy version of “Staxxx In My Jeans” from Snoop’s newest album, Ego Trippin’. The drums, played by Carlos, on “Staxxx” made my body move against my will! I was in the press pit trying to work and get some decent photos, and all I wanted to do was shack my ass and bob my head!!! Not really conducive to taking non-blurry pictures… I still can’t get over how awesome his band was. Giving the band a break for a spell, the DJ played “Mary Jane,” and gave Snoop a chance in true form to get the audience participation going, and talk a bit about the “Sticky Icky Icky.” But, not for too long…after a few rounds of back and forths with the crowd on “I wanna get fucked up” the band broke into another Doggystyle classic, “Gin and Juice.” It is glorious to hear such hard core interpretations of these songs that we have become so accustomed to.
By the time I made my way back around to the pit again where Noel was enjoying the festivities, an old school sounding jam from R&G (Rhythm & Gangsta): The Masterpiece called “Ups & Downs” was just finishing, and leading into another from the new album Ego Trippin’ called “Sexual Eruption.” What else would this song be about? “I’m gonna take my time, she gon get hers before I, I’m gonna take it slow (woah woahh)…She might be with him but she’s thinkin’ ’bout me me meeeeeeee…Smoke us a cigarette and go back to sleep sleep sleeeeeep.” Not very often do we get Snoop actually singing, but this one is about as close as it gets. Upbeat and melodic.
Now, you know the party is on when they call out for Uncle Junebug to come accompany them on a little “Snoop’s Upside Ya Head” from The Doggfather. Junebug’s moves are always so cute and smooth. Carlos’s drums were really warmed up by this point, and just when I thought it couldn’t get funkier, he hit me upside the head with it!
One of the most fun times at a Snoop Dogg show are his periodic “chronic breaks,” which this time included his DJ playing Tom Tom Club’s “Genius of Love” (sampled by Mariah Carey in her song “Fantasy”) to get the crowd going, “Where the party people at??” A little back and forth of “Ho! – Ho! Hey! – Hey!” “Can I get a Biatch – Biatch…Wait a minute, ya’ll having too much fun, ya’ll act like ya’ll at a Snoop Dogg show…” Snoop Dogg is always paying homage toGeorge Clinton, and tonight was no different, with a chant to a funky beat back and forth of “Ain’t no party like a Snoop Dogg party ‘cause a Snoop Dogg party don’t stop!” This led immediately into a slower and very funky rendition of the Doggystyle crowd favorite “Lodi Dodi.” As if he needs to ask a mirror if he’s the top Dogg!!
I know I keep going on and on about the drummer, Carlos, but this guy was amazing! His work on an excerpt Dr. Dre’s “The Next Episode” was no exception. Then, they jammed straight into the Doggystyle tune “Pump Pump.” It was obvious that the idea for Snoop Dogg choosing the musicians that he did to tour with him on this 311 tour was to totally rock out with guitar riffs in the likes of Randy Rhoads (Ozzy) and drum beats as heavy and crazy as Keith Moon (The Who). The crowd went wild! Even Noel was impressed with the band, particularly Carlos, the bad ass drummer. I have to say that Snoop Dogg drew the largest crowd I have ever seen show up early for the opening band EVER at a 311 show, and they brought IT for sure. He and his band made it worth every second. Maybe it was the distinctive sound different from every other Snoop show I have seen, even though this was an abbreviated set, it may be my favorite yet! Snoop acknowledged the change, too, encouraging the band to “Rock that shit!” Even screaming to the top of his lungs over and over!
LT is then asked to make these muthafuckas jump, followed by them playing “Jump” by House Of Pain…the whole crew rapping along playfully with Everlast. And, stop…”Now that I got you muthafuckas to jump around, what I really want ya’ll to do is…” In came that hard beat that begins the hit from the 2004 album R&G (Rhythm & Gangsta): The Masterpiece “Drop It Like It’s Hot!” As if the beat wasn’t already HOT, they tricked it out even more! What a way to end a set…and believe me, Carlos TORE it up!
Even though I missed some of the show running around trying to catch photos and whatnot, I got a full taste of all that Snoop and his crew laid down on this hot Summer night. For a viewing of the photo gallery from this night, please visit: http://www.concertsutra.com/080731snoopdogg/. For all things Snoop, and to see where you could catch a glimpse into the awesome live performance world of the Doggfather himself, check out his website at: http://www.snoopdogg.com/. If you get the chance, whether they are playing with a rock band or not, Snoop will give you a show worth every penny of what you paid for your ticket! I promise! I have done the research…they don’t call me TDogg for nothing! 🙂