Reviewed by Thomas Fawcett, Fri., Nov. 11, 2011
Public EnemyAuditorium Shores, Nov. 4
Public Enemy is 20 years removed from its last great album – Apocalypse 91 ... The Enemy Strikes Black – but its music and message sound as urgent as ever. Backed by a live band and flanked by the militaristic boot-stomping of the S1Ws, Chuck D's fierce raps shot through the Bomb Squad cacophony of "Welcome to the Terrordome," "Show 'Em Whatcha Got," and "Can't Truss It." The man who once dubbed hip-hop "the black CNN" expressed clenched-fist solidarity with the Occupy movement and railed against anti-immigration laws before launching into "Don't Believe the Hype." The set occasionally veered off course when hip-hop's all-time greatest hype man was given the keys; lord knows five minutes would have been better filled with "Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos" than freestyle from Flavor Flav's godson. Bumps aside, the set was a triumph dominated by Fear of a Black Planet and It Takes a Nation of Millions To Hold Us Back. The plug was pulled on closing anthem "Fight the Power" midsong, but, as it turns out, a verbal middle finger to Elvis and John Wayne proved perfect a cappella.