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Beat Street
By Todd S. Inoue

[whitespace] Incubus
Three in One: A split-screen Incubus shows up Wednesday (Feb. 18) at the Cactus Club in San Jose.

Cabin Fever:
Jurassic 5 and Crack reign supreme

THE RAIN KEPT everyone inside most of last weekend. Only the most devoted of fans (and thinnest of brain tissues) braved the conditions to see their favorite bands roll through the Bay Area.

Whoosh! That's the sound of eyeglasses fogging up the instant I stepped into the packed Justice League in San Francisco last Saturday night to see Jurassic 5 do its medley of body-rocking hits. Word about the L.A.-based hip-hop crew is spreading like virus. The last time they were here, the six members rocked it to an appreciative crowd of insiders. This time, neither rain, sleet nor more rain could keep a packed house from satisfying its curiosity.

With four emcees (Chali 2na, Akil, Zaakir, Marc 7even) and two DJs (Cut Chemist and Nu-Mark), Jurassic crowds a stage, but there's not a towel-waver in the bunch--all the emcees clutch mics and present rep. Jurassic 5 opened with a clever a capella interpolation of "Those Were the Days" (from the All in the Family theme). The fellas pined for the golden days when hip-hop was about skills, not a glorified Scrabble game that turned "cons" into "icons."

"Concrete Schoolyard" followed. With its playful, jungle-gym chorus ("Playground tactics no rabbit in a hat tricks, just that classic rap shit from Jurassic"), J5 sent heads back to an era when emcees were numbers (but not in any industry sense): Disco Three, Fearless Four, Funky Four + One More, Furious Five. Each member took turns rhyming while Nu-Mark and Cut Chemist traded off beats. It was refreshing to see such dedication and respect being churned out en masse.

Not your average, everyday rap band, this. During the break of "Jayou," the emcees pulled out kazoos and buzzed. The crew tagged classic beats like Run-D.M.C.'s "It's Like That" and L.L. Cool J's "I Want You" with their own clever lyrics. Later, Nu-Mark performed a kalimba solo. By midnight, the line stretched long down Divisadero. Jurassic 5 is probably the most original-sounding hip-hop combo coming out of California. Its self-titled EP is great and available everywhere.

Crack, meanwhile, was busy last Friday at the Cactus Club in San Jose getting out the vote for its BAMMIES nomination. Did the band read the fine print that said all votes had to be in by last Sunday? It's been a long time since I've seen Crack play, and the fellas didn't disappoint. Bringing up Losing One's Cool producer John Lyons from Goleta to craft the band's sound was a good investment. At the end of "Mexican Radio," Lyons created a surreal tunnel of dub that lasted two minutes before the band shut it down, Crack-style.

Love Their Way

Fuel will be doing future co-presents with the Justice League, which should result in more local hip-hop! Fuel also has a triple decker of entertainment planned for Valentine's Day. At 5pm, contestants vie for prizes at Poetry Slam Massacre. At 8pm, Nigel Who? and Donovan's Hair Studio present a spring preview fashion show. At 9pm, the Benny Velarde Orchestra hits the stage with nonstop mambo and salsa.... Link 80 bravely returns to live performances at the Gaslighter Theater in Campbell on Sunday at 6:30pm. Four more bands, including Siren Six and Blind Spot, are on the bill.... Incubus, Tribal Disco Noise, Papa Roach and G.R.I.T.S. perform at the Cactus on Wednesday (Feb. 18).... Salmon has officially cut ties from Red Ant records. The Gilroy crew also parted ways with its longtime manager, Gary Avila.

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From the February 12-18, 1998 issue of Metro.

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