Concerts—The Roots
by Branden Hart

If there is one thing I’m positive the editors and readers of FTTW share in common, it isn’t venereal disease—it’s a love of live music. Last Tuesday, I went to legendary concert venue Stubb’s Barbeque in Austin to watch one of the most amazing concerts I’ve ever seen: The Roots.

questlove.jpgThe Roots are one of the most important hip-hop ensembles ever to exist. Started by Black Thought and ?uestlove (pronounced “Quest love”) the band relies heavily on jazz beats and melodic progressions, as well as live instruments and as clever, often poignant rhymes. They are known for their exceptional live shows, and this one was absolutely incredible. Not to mention they were playing with LUPE FIASCO, who I’ve mentioned several times over the past few months.

When we got downtown for the concert, we stepped out of the car (where we were listening to Lupe Fiasco’s American Terrorist) and into the street (where we could hear Lupe doing a live version of the same song). Even though it was completely surreal to go from recording to the same live song instantaneously, my heart sunk, because it meant one thing—I was missing Lupe. We mistakenly figured that Lupe would do some songs with The Roots, but ended up being wrong. No matter, we were able to listen to the Lupe songs as we stood in a line that was fifteen fucking minutes long, trying to get in.

When The Roots finally took the stage, we had our beers and were ready to go. This drunk idiot and his drunk ass girlfriend bought me a beer in exchange for a cigarette, so I was trying to balance three beers while standing there cheering for the band. “Why didn’t you just get two beers?” you ask me. “You obviously don’t know me that well,” I reply. But I digress.

The band had everything. ?uestlove plays the drums. Other instruments include sax, keyboard, trombone, and a Sousaphone. That’s right. A FUCKING SOUSAPHONE. At a hip hop concert. I couldn’t believe it. And that Sousaphonist was rocking out man. Moving as much as he could. I thought he was going to fall over at one point. When the other members took a break, ?uestlove (who doesn’t take breaks and is known to DJ at local clubs after concerts), the guitarist, and the Sousaphonist covered Bob Dylan’s Masters of War. The Sousaphonist did the bass line, dancing on stage the entire time. It was the second truly surreal experience of the night, and absolutely amazing to see.

The band played a lot of their more popular songs, then did a lot of covers as well. I realized at one point I was bobbing my head to an instrumental version of Justin Timberlake’s Sexyback. I promptly punched myself in the testicles. Other than that, hearing The Roots cover a song is something special: not only do you get the feeling that they understand what the song is about, but that they really care about the song in the first place.

The big thing for me about seeing live music is the different senses you can observe music with. For example, the bass produced by the giant speakers on either side of the stage was body shaking. I could watch the sleeves on my shirt vibrate against the sound, and I was at least one hundred yards away from the stage. Being there, seeing the band live, kind of negates some of the things we take for granted when listening to an album or an mp3. You begin to realize the organic nature of what you’re observing, and it’s then that the music takes on a new feeling. THAT’S what is important about live music to me.

The concert ended after about two or three hours. My friends, who have seen the band before, said that every time it gets better, and every time they leave a concert they start looking forward to the next one. Lord knows I’ll be back in Austin next time the band plays. I might even find out where ?uestlove is playing afterwards so I can go listen to him, because I know that the experience will be unlike any I can experience anywhere else, no matter how great my home stereo system is.

So readers, what are your favorite groups to see live? What about favorite concerts? What do you love about seeing live music? Where’s your favorite concert venue? Let’s chat it up motherfuckers. In the meantime, I’ll be waiting for you in the beer line.

Uberchief rocks it sousaphone style.

*eds note: he's wrong. we really do all have VD



Favorite Band to see Live: In Flames

Favorite Concert ever; In Flames, Dark Tranquillity, Sentenced, and Hate Eternal. It was the only time I got to see Sentenced live. They've since broken up. Very sad.

Favorite live venue: either the agora in cleveland or ziggy's in winston-salemn, nc

Why do I like live music? I'm not one of those guys that heads straight away for the pit. I stand back and I take it all in. I people watch. I chat up other people. I like the improvisations. If I'm not 100% behind a band's studio effort, I will go see them live. Often, the energy they bring forth live will sell me on what they're trying to accomplish. Mastodon's a good example of that.


I've been to so many concerts in my time (over 400) I can't even remember half of them.

The ones that stick out in my mind the most were the bands I saw in tiny little clubs and theaters before they became big. The Ramones in a movie theater, U2 in a small Long Island night club come to mind.

I hate outdoor all day concerts and I grew to loathe arena shows (even though I attend a ton of them). I like small, intimate places with no seating, like Roseland Ballroom or Irving Plaza.

Some of the best shows I've seen: Nick Cave at the Beacon theater in 2002. Incubus, a few times, before they became pussies. U2 in the early years. Van Halen, on their first arena tour, back in the day. Blue Oyster Cult some time in the 80's (I think they played with Foghat). System of a Down in 98. Rammstein, saw them a couple of times and man, do they know how to entertain.

I haven't been to a show in ages. I think the last band I saw was Primus about four years ago and I walked out on that show.

I think the best thing about seeing a band live is sharing the moment with the crowd. As long as they aren't being dicks.

We're looking to go see Fu Manchu and Clutch next month, if Turtle can get those nights off.


I've seen quite a few concerts so it's kind of hard to pick just one out.

I'm lucky to say that I have been able to see most of my favorite musicians play live at one point or another. There are still a few I have never seen that I would like to get to see someday.

I generally prefer to see a band in a smaller venue, like a club, as opposed to a big arena. But I'll still go see an arena show if it is somebody I like enough.


I'm not all that excited about seeing anyone these days. I mean the cost and the time involved in seeing anyone good at some macro arena just doesn't thrill me.

Ticket Master keeps telling me I don't want to miss The Police's reunion and I'm thinkin'...200 bucks to hear Roxanne live? Ummm, I'll buy the DVD and pump it through my Bose and I don't have to drive to Denver.


I've heard absolutely nothing but great things about The Mars Volta's live shows, but I haven't had the personal pleasure... yet.


I saw that Police reunion thing too and didn't even bother checking it. I knew the tix would be like $80 bucks or something outrageous like that...


The Police might be one of the few concerts I would pay more than $100 a tic for. The Roots were less than $30...


my favorite shows seem to depend heavily on the "atmosphere," that delicate mix of band, tunes, venue, friends, crowd, and drugs. going to shows has been a vital part of my life for about 20+ years.

seeing Wattie from the Exploited get hauled off in a paddywagon was cool. Citizen Cope playing for free in the rain with about 30 people in attendance, mostly winos and crackheads. Ben Folds Five on their first tour was surprisingly entertaining. the Descendents. dodging bullets at the Supercat show. reggae sunsplash, though not in Jamaica. the Supersuckers "Big Show." a then unknown Janes Addiction opening for the Ramones - Perry and Navarro making out on stage while the crowd hurled insults, chanted "hey ho lets go." Run DMC. the Beastie Boys. Dinosaur Jr. lots of local bands that were important to me and my friends. Wu-Tang, even if ODB was AWOL. the Queens of the Stoneage. a bunch i'm forgetting.

missed the Roots when they came through in 2002. Phrenology is my fave too. they were here with Cody ChesnuTT, the motherfuckin' musical genius. still pissed about that one. ?uest is tied with Grohl for best drummer of all time in my book.

Ian, caught the Mars Volta on their first tour. the people i convinced to go still haven't forgiven me for that one. i really admire what they do, put it that way. from what i remember, it was an hour and a half non-stop, no breaks. i certainly don't regret it, but like i said, my friends do.

and i never get tired of hearing Mike Ness say "[insert town name here]. pimps, murderers, junkies, and whores. my kinda town."


My classic rock roots are showing again, but I don't care.

Fav band to see WAS: J. Geils-We (as in the whole venue) always stayed on our feet, dancing the whole show.

Fav concert: way to hard to pick one show, so:
-Every time I saw Ozzy with Randy Rhodes (5)
-Every time I saw Santana(over 10), except with the rolling Stones cause they sucked so bad they ruined the whole fucking show!
-Humble Pie in 78
-Led Zepplin in 77??
-Robin Trower on New Years Eve
and Rush at the grand opening of Joe Louis Arena.

shit-I almost forgot Iron Maiden in Toledo.

finally, more than anything, I'd really like to see Joe Satriani. In fact I'd sell my left testicle for that one. (I sold my right for a ticket to Led Zepplin)


I love The Roots, though I never had the pleasure of seeing them live. One of the best concerts I ever saw was The Cure. Trey Anastasio puts on one hell of a show too- bring on the jazz baby.


Led Zeppelin 77:

My son has inherited a shirt from that tour.

They played MSG that tour and my grandfather was friends with someone big at the Garden and said he could get us tickets. My mother wouldn't let me go.

Still haven't forgiven her.


I saw em at the Pontiac Silverdome -great show, but I had a helluva time getting there. didn't get the t-shirt:(


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