Life Music In Harrisburg
Live in Harrisburg
Going Old School
In 1992, a hip-hop group from Atlanta, Georgia took America by storm. Arrested Development brought a blend of Afrocentrism, spirituality and positive energy; not as militant as groups like Public Enemy, X-Clan or KRS-ONE, they were able to reach an audience beyond the city streets. Their 1993 Best New Artist win, the first mainstream award for a rap or hip-hop group and appearance on the 1993 Lolapalooza tour showed that they had gotten some mainstream cred.
But the winds of change were blowing in hip-hop, and a dark cloud was developing. The Chronic was released late in 1992, and the era of "Gangsta Rap" was in full swing. Hip-hop became a celebration of drugs, crime, misogyny and violence. It may have taken the deaths of 2Pac and Notorious BIG to bring this era to an end. The damage had been done though, and groups like Arrested Development, who spoke of pride instead of crime, were effectively run off the stage.
But they're not silenced yet! Arrested Development brought their 20th anniversary tour to the Abbey Bar at the Appalachian Brewing Company in Harrisburg, PA. A crowd of old-school hip-hop fans and fans of retro music filled the venue.
The opening act, Mad Men, proved that they were ready for prime time. Bringing a mix of hip-hop and funk as a wonderful appetizer. They sounded as good as they looked in their suits and ties.
But then the African drums began, two backup singers/dancers took the stage, and soon Speech and the group were ready to drop.
The concert was a mix of familiar hits; "Mr. Wendall" and "Tennessee", some lesser-known tracks; "Mama's Always On Stage" and "Revolution" and some more recent material. Speech kept the energy high, and the crowd responded with call and responses, singing along and jumping in time!
The only two problems I saw were that the performance was a bit short and it may have been set up for a larger venue. But it was nice to look back on the days before hip-hop was all about bravado and deviancy.