Wu-Years Eve, Tuesday December 31 2013. On the eve of the new year, 2014, and sitting at the doorstep of change. The day, and the event arrived with much anticipation. Wu-Years Eve was everywhere you looked in the media. Every list of the best events in Denver had Wu-Years Eve penciled in towards the top. Even Rolling Stone Magazine listed Wu-Years Eve as not only one of the best events in Denver, but a noteworthy event of global proportions. The Wu-Tang Clan, quite possibly the most important and influential crew in hip-hop history, saw 3 original members reunited to spend New Years Eve with the Mile High City. 20 years since the release of "Enter The Wu-Tang" altered the path of HipHop forever, Method Man, Raekwon, and Ghostface Killah were set to take center stage for a sold out Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom. Headlining sponsors for the event were Yolo Rum, a local Denver liquor company, and LivWell Enlightened Health, a Colorado dispensary with 9 locations across the state.
The night opened with DJ Hoppa warming up the venue. The smoke and the people started packing the dance floor early, as eager Denverites jockeyed for position in what was sure to be a historic evening. As DJ Hoppa brought a unique blend of hip-hop and trap beats, he had the place rocking from the word go. The energy and the the whole vibe of the place was already elevated and was rising quickly.
After DJ Hoppa finished bringing his bass heavy set to the Colorado masses, it was time for local hip-hop outfit, The Foodchain. The Denver based live hip-hop collective is comprised of 4 MC's, 2 producers, a DJ and a drummer. The Foodchain list the crews members in their Facebook page as C-1 the Traveler, Mic "Chinchilla" Coats, ChampionSoundKillaBlack, FL, Mo Heat, Mass Prod, and Dj Louiscide. The Foodchain most definitely kept the crowd hyped with the warm sound and vibe that only live hip-hop with live instruments can bring. They moved fluidly through a set that included what's sure to be an instant local classic, so relevant to the time and place, "Young Amsterdam". It was my first chance to see The Foodchain live and they didn't disappoint. The Foodchain's set ended shortly before midnight, and suddenly, the time was upon us.
With the anticipation of the crowd, and the energy of Cervantes whipped up into a frenzy, the lights went low, and the unmistakable signature sound of the Shaolin started to rattle through the room. With DJ and producer Allah Mathematics occupying the turntables on the elevated platform on the stage, the sounds of the kung-fu movie style intro gave way to "Bring Da Ruckus", and the trio stepped on stage as the crowd erupted in screams, cheers, flashing cameras, "Wu's in the air", and plumes of smoke.
It was shortly before midnight as they wound down "Bring Da Ruckus", and an abbreviated countdown segued to the announcement that it was midnight, it was 2014, and we were living in a new world in Colorado. As Method Man announced the new year, and his approval of Colorado's new laws, others on stage tossed goodies into the crowd, much to the delight of those on the receiving end. At that point, Method Man rallied into the intro to the track "M-E-T-H-O-D MAN" and the place went bonkers! Meth himself must have felt right at home, as he was already stage diving by the end of the track, before they had been on stage for even 10 minutes. The performance only heated up from there as the trio spit a wide variety of tracks from the Wu-Tang arsenal, dipped into tracks from the 3 MC's solo cuts, and back into unforgettable Wu-Tang anthems. The crew was even joined on stage by Wu-Tang Clan associate Streetlife for much of the set.
Some of the notable highlights saw a tribute to fallen Wu-Tang member ODB, as the crew performed "I Like It Raw", and "Brooklyn Zoo" to a mosh pit that Method Man once again provoked and joined momentarily. As the tribute to ODB continued, the 3 looked for an audience member to join them on stage to spit ODB's verse on "Protect Ya Neck". This didn't go so well for the first participant as he couldn't quite capture that ODB diction and delivery, and had to give way to a slightly older Latino gentleman that got the tribute back on track by flawlessly delivering ODB's bars. The dance floor once again erupted as Ghostface Killah celebrated with the audience member, and the show moved forward. In another tribute to Run-D.M.C.'s DJ Jam Master Jay, Wu's DJ Allah Mathematics dropped into his own solo DJ performance. He moved the crowd, and showed off his turntablism skills, scratching records on actual Technics turntables, with actual records, scratching around the back and between his legs, while taking his shoes off and scratching with his nose and juggling beats back and forth all the while. An impressive display indeed. At one point Method Man quipped that, with all the member on stage being over 40, that everyone should be able to keep up with them, and it did seem like the Denver crowd did what they could to keep pace as the crew smashed through track after track.
All in all, it was an amazing performance, on an amazing and historic night. It was a performance that toed the line between both rehearsed and improvised moments, all the while never skipping a beat, and keeping the energy level high, and the crowed involved and engaged throughout the duration of the show. The trio delivered a lively and memorable set that showed why these 3 were part of spearheading such a wide ranging movement, that established the Wu-Tang Clan as legends, breaking new ground and setting trends in the Hip-Hop game for decades after their arrival, and most likely for decades to come.
We would also like to announce that we are happy to be partnering up with Cervantes again in April, as Myxed Up Creations and Yolo Rum Present the 21st annual Myxed Up 420, with Method Man and Redman! Sunday April 20th, 2014!
Additional photos courtesy of Westword, photo credit Brandon Marshall.
One more photo courtesy The Foodchain Music Tumblr page.