Wu-Tang Photo by Tom Mohrman

The line outside of the Showbox SoDo moved slow, and it was raining. It didn’t matter though, because the people in line were there to see the sold out Wu-Tang Clan show. Wu-Tang! Not only that, but Seattle’s own Champagne Champagne were set to open. Our expectations were high. One of Seattle’s most exciting live acts paired with one of the all-time best rap groups- I mean, we were ready to have a great time. We weren’t disappointed. Not at all.

Pearl Dragon is always all over the place on the stage. He loves to climb, and he loves to sit on the edge of the stage and get as close to the fans as possible. At Bumbershoot last summer, he was on top of a stack of speakers, tonight it was some of the rigging of the proscenium arch. Then he jumps down mid verse and keeps going, strutting all over the stage while DJ Gajmagic plays guitar over beats and raw synths. Thomas shakes his ample hair in time with the beat, and Champagne Champagne’s set has just begun. Later in the set when Mark starts playing drums it’s like something is released. He’s been waiting the whole show to start wailing in the drums. It takes things to a higher level. At first the audience was sparse with the full-throated cheers, but by the end of Champagne’s set, the crowd was shouting an emphatic CHAMPAGNE CHAMPAGNE!

The second act was Black Knights West Coast Killa Beez. They were a little disappointing. They did a bad job of what Wu-Tang also did, which was mix in the vocals of a deceased member of the group. For Wu-Tang, it was O.D.B. (R.I.P.) When they sampled the iconic voice of O.D.B., it seemed reverent, and classy. When Black Knights sampled Doc Doom (R.I.P.) it was meant as a tribute, but it came off as ham-handed, and kind-of creepy. Their DJ scratched up a storm. He was the best part of their show. The rapping was muddled, and lazy. For the Black Knights with their Wu-Tang affiliation, it’s truly who you know.

Then, Wu-Tang Clan were up, and the crowd pressed up towards the stage, lit fresh blunts, and got ready to dance. The show started with DJ Mathematics spinning a Dizzy Rascal beat. Then the stage was filled with Staten Island’s hip hop kings. They started with the hits. Everyone was singing along. When they let loose with ‘Da Mystery of Chess Boxing,’ they stuck the mic out to the crowd, and everyone in the crowd shouted “straight from Bolivia” right in time. These songs are deep in our collective memory, and we love them.

At one point after finishing a verse, Method Man took a victory fall into the crowd. Out of all of them, he’s the best on stage. He’s a clown, and he’s full of swagger and skill. They are all seasoned professionals, but they are obviously having a great time doing what they’ve been doing for two decades.

DJ Mathematics did some DMC-type body tricks midway through the show. It’s a shame they weren’t showing closeups on screens. The crowd would have gotten more out of it if they’d been able to see Mathematics moving the crossfader with his nose, his arms folded up into pretzels. Wu-Tang represent all of the best of old school hip hop, and it’s great that they celebrate all of the elements.

Man! It was really fun. Wu-Tang might have betrayed their age a little bit when they called on the crowd to start a mosh pit, but hey, we love who Wu-Tang was, is, and will be. At the end of the show they said to the crowd, “We’ve been on tour for six weeks, and it’s our pleasure to end the tour in Seattle.” I think they meant it.

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