Show Review: Pharoahe Monch, June 7th, 2013 – Seattle @ The Crocodile

IMG_0438Friday night I headed to downtown to Seattle to catch some hip hop at The Crocodile in Belltown put on by the good folks at Reign City. “The Croc,” split between a back bar pizza joint and the main concert area, is an intimate venue with nice acoustics and a quality sound system that has hosted everyone from Nirvana to the Beastie Boys as well as numerous underground bands. After sound-check I was hanging out in the back bar and there was probably one of the best mix of hip hop videos playing throughout that I’ve seen since Yo! MTV Raps was in its heyday. I was almost content to chill there all night but I stayed focused. Dope videos not withstanding I was here for one reason, to see one of the illest cats to ever lays hands on the microphone: Pharoahe Monch!

Fresh off stops in Australia, Singapore and South Africa, Monch decided to set up a west coast tour to test some of of the new material he’s been cooking up for his upcoming “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (P.T.S.D)” album with Seattle being the first stop. I was looking forward to hearing some new tracks as well as the numerous bangers from his catalog.

Warming up the eclectic emerald city crowd were several local acts: Bruce Leroy (sans the glow), Justis, and Xperience (because I think it’s actually illegal to have a hip hop show in Seattle without someone from the Old Dominion crew on the set list). All of the openers were solid but not spectacular mainly because the content wasn’t very engaging save for XP. He presented some quality solo work on a different bent than when he is with The Th3rdz going for a more soulful tone with interspersed singing including a random rendition of Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun.”

While the openers were decent it was clear everyone was here to see Pharoahe. Monch was backed up by Boogie Blind, one of the new school representatives of the X-ecutioners, on the 1s and 2s and came out to Assassins which sent the crowd into a frenzy. Pharoahe went on to run the full gamut of his solo material starting with the tracks from W.A.R but then seamlessly bouncing between Rawkus singles, Internal Affairs, Desire and back to more recent content such as “Damage,” the final in the stray bullet trilogy and the newly unveiled “Scream.” “Scream” is currently planned to be the first single off of P.T.S.D. The track starts off with some crooning before devolving into chopped up melodic madness underscoring the song’s intent with part of the chorus going:

I see dead people in my dream
This war with self is so extreme
Sometimes I feel I need to… (piercing horror howl) Scream!
This war with self is so extreme
Sometimes I think I want to… (piercing horror howl) Scream!

After running through his set, Monch wished the crowd goodnight and headed backstage only to hear a seemingly never ending chant of “Pharoahe, Pharoahe” before obliging with the obligatory encore before closing out the show. Pure lyricism lives to see another day.

Peep a snippet of the first verse of the new track “Scream” below:

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