Public Enemy – [Blu-Ray]

Public Enemy – [Blu-Ray]

Wednesday, 30 September 2015
TITLE: Public Enemy – [Blu-Ray]
LABEL:Metropolis/Universal Music Group International
DATE: 09-30-15
REVIEW BY: Bill Adams

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While saying that some things never change is only a fraction less trite than earnestly claiming that everything that an old group is oding currently is “same as it ever was,” that doesn’t mean seeing Public Enemy rule a stage in the second decade of the new millennium isn’t as gratifying as it was three decades ago. For twenty-eight years, Chuck D, Flava Flav and turntablist DJ Lord [who replaced Terminator X in 1999 –ed] have built, developed and then redeveloped their mix of hip hop, pop, rock and political discussion, and helped to solidify the bridge between those genres which has since seen everyone from Eminem to Korn to Limp Bizkit to Kid Rock to Jay Z, DMX and NWA get a few moments in the sun. Simply put, pop music as a whole would not look the way it does in the twenty-first century without Public Enemy, but the really cool part is that they’re still doing it – still making records and still doing shows, and they’re now able to present a body of work which spans multiple eras in music history on stage and not only still be respected, but revered for it because it’s still pertinent. It still means something – and that’s absolutely awesome – but even better is the fact that the songs are still timely in spite of having been recorded (in some cases) several decades ago, and that they do that proves they’re timeless.

That some of the songs in the Live From Metropolis Studios set still have that aforementioned “bite” of being timely even years later is one thing, but that Public Enemy is able to present the songs with as much passion and power now – when both Chuck and Flav are over fifty – is just incredible. On this Blu-Ray, very tight-angle shots make Metropolis Studios look like it might have a capacity of about four hundred [shot in the Live Room in Studio A, presumably –ed], but Public Enemy really make the intimate setting work for them as they get flat-out confrontational from the moment the band’s introduction lapses into “Lost At Birth.” Right here, viewers get a set of images which could only be characterized as quintessential Public Enemy: Chuck D vocally punctuates the syllable at the end of every stanza with such force that one can almost feel it while Flav acts as the perfectly controlled wildcard who weaves between D’s posts. If any image reflects a definitive one of how Public Enemy should be seen long after the music has stopped, it’s right here – but this is only the beginning of the show and there is plenty more to come.

And this Blu-Ray does not leave fans wanting. Pulling selections from throughout Public Enemy’s career (including songs from It Takes A Nation Of Millions… and Fear Of A Black Planet as well as selections from all other releases up to and including The Evil Empire of Everything) and weaving them together in a perfectly watertight mix which favors flow over all (read: it’s not like Public Enemy put together a “through the years” set which goes year-by-year from front-to-back), viewers get pulled quickly into both the show and aural world of the band and after they’re in, there’s only one way out: at the end of the show. Along the way, they’ll be struck by the hard and dry-eyed swagger of songs like “Rebel Without A Pause,” “Hoovermusic” and “Show ‘Em Whatcha Got” before getting the guaranteed gratification of “Bring The Noise,” “Don’t Believe The Hype” and “Can’t Truss It” and then being assaulted again by “I Shall Not By Moved,” “31 Flavors” and “Shut ‘Em Down” – the movement is furious, forceful and unbelievable to observe. All along the way, neither D nor Flav phones in a performance, and the backing supplied by a full live band (yes – really!) makes for a show which is totally unlike anything that even fans would expect; the power is palpable and not one man onstage ever flinches or drops a step. That is how well-prepared they are, and viewers will easily be able to recognize just how special what they’re seeing is.

Running front to back with the Live From Metropolis Studios Blu-Ray, viewers will find themselves drained at the experience by the end. The show is great – there’s no arguing that – and that’s why they’ll be exhausted in the end; when you see something this good and you know it, you give yourself to it and connect with it. Because of that, those who see Live From Metropolis Studios will be drained; there’s no chance that Public Enemy wasn’t when they finished this marathon, so so will viewers be. They’ll be satisfied though.



Public Enemy’s Live From Metropolis Studios Blu-Ray is out now. Buy it here on Amazon .

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