Arizona Daily Star, October 27th, 1992
By Gene Armstrong:
With concerts featuring both rap and rock acts becoming more and more popular, the Beastie Boys' current road show is ideal.
Not only did the suburban rappers play an exhilarating blend of rap, funk and punk Sunday night at the Tucson Convention Center's old Exhibition Hall, they arrived with hard-core rap group Da Lench Mob and the punk-metal Rollins Band in tow.
Taking the stage to the strains of the theme from “The Godfather," the Boys exhorted the audience to dance, and the 2,430 young people in attendance did just that, jumping in the latest fashion.
Soon the Beasties exploded into their “Shake Your Rump," to which the audience responded.
The Beastie Boys' rapping mostly took the form of snotty screeching as they manically trotted about the stage during such wild tunes as the dynamic "Finger Lickin' Good.”
Their inventiveness with the language,so prominent on their records, was intact. Sample lyric: "We got more spice than the Frugal Gourmet."
Although the three rappers' voices may seem more shrill in concert than on recordings, their sonic attack was far more authoritative than one may have imagined.
D.J. Hurricane kept the music booming in classic hip-hop style when the band members weren't actually playing instruments. The buzzing bass and metallic creaking of "Pass the Mic" were enough to snap your head back.
As for the live instruments, the Beastie Boys indeed did play, and not half badly, at least as well as your garden-variety touring punk band. Mike D. took over the đrum kit, MCA the bass and Ad-Rock the guitar.
They performed sensual funk a la '70s legends War and Parliament, classic punk songs by the likes of Minor Threat and punked-up versions of their own tunes, such as a rampaging version of "Egg Man" from their second album, "Paul's Boutique."
Among the many funk tunes they played, the highlights included the wall of fuzz guitar on “Gratitude" and the smooth “Lighten Up", after which they segued into a driving, industrial-sounding melange of punky noise.
The secret ingredient in the Beasties' show, which lasted more than an hour, was the virtuosic skills of keyboardist Mark Ramos Nishita, who played greasy R&B organ and fusion-styie electric piano on many tunes.
Naturally, they closed the concert with their latest hit, “So What'Cha Want" a rowdy rap combining old-school tendencies and a ragged sense of musical distortion.
Notably absent was their first single, the infamous “Fight for Your Right to Party." Apparently, the Beastie Boys have outgrown such sophomoric sentiments.
Second on the bill was the incredible and intense Rollins Band, led by singer Henry Rollins, clad in his usual attire of running shorts and tattoos.
While the band's hour of music was a furious, expert blend of thrash metal, funky guitar and the improvisational Instincts of jazz, Rollins' bellowing songs seemed to tear into the heart of complacency.
He came off like a poetic, punk-rock self-awareness coach. Watching him contract like a coiled snake on stage, ripping emotion from each song, was llke witnesssing an exorcism.
The first number, “Low Self Opinion," reached out to the tortured outcast holding pain and self-doubt in his gut like a cancer.
Rollins sang with real compassion for such people because he feels an affinity with them: "The self-hatred that blinds you / Binds you grinds you keeps you down."
Another poignant song, "Once in Your Lifetime," condemned suicide and meaningless deaths of young people in general.
Anguish colored Rollins' hoarse shouts of “Don't die young” over the grinding and tearing of his band on the chaotic finish.
It was truly moving, knowing that Rollins witneseed the murder of his best friend and roommate, Joe Cole, less than a year ago.
From the frustrated psycho-traumatic blues of the Rollins Band's rock warfare came a real release.
Rollins' refreshing message seemed to strike a chord with young people, one equal to the power of the Beastie Boys' joyous romping.
As at most of his shows, Rollins offered his latest book of prose poetry for sale along side the usual obscenely expensive T-shirts at the concessions booth.
During the Beastie Boys' set, a pair of young women hunkered down near the water fountains and restrooms already seemed to have devoured healthy chunks of the new Rollins tome.
Da Lench Mob began the show with a short set of hard-core rap in the style of the band's controversial mentor, Ice Cube.
Playing material from its recent debut album, “Guerillas in Tha Mist," the Mob's music was antagonistic, misanthropic, misogynistic, profane, anti-social agitprop, all set to a dominating beat.