This past Sunday, the Santa Barbara Bowl played host to a whole lot of underground ‘90s hip-hop fans. And these weren’t the pretentious groupies who go to concerts just to say they did, oh no. You’re not going to show up on a Sunday night unless you’re a real devotee.
MC Supernatural started off the show and perfectly set the vibe with a set that was enlivening and electrifying. Known for his freestyle abilities and as a host of the Rock the Bells Hip Hop Music Festival, Super Nat has made appearances all over. He had people chanting, jamming, and bouncing to the beat within his first 30 seconds of his set, and while it’s an oft-overused saying, he really did set the mood for the rest of the night. As the floor started to crowd, you saw more and more hands in the air.
By the time Dilated Peoples came on, the show’s audience was mostly all in attendance. But the hype was almost gone before they even started, thanks to the constant yelling — “Are you ready for Dilated Peoples?!” or “Who’s here for Jurassic 5?!” Still, their noteworthy “You Can’t Hide, You Can’t Run” seemed to reenergize the crowd. It was clear people were just as excited to see Dilated Peoples as they were for Jurassic 5.
When Jurassic 5 released its first new music and tour dates in over eight years, I expected a packed venue. But the group’s Word of Mouth Reunion tour seemed to have literally spread by word of mouth. Almost all the seats in the venue were empty. To be up on stage and see it, I can only imagine, would have been utterly disheartening. Nevertheless, J5’s energy was not vexed. Their performance was powerful, crowd-pleasing, and downright successful. From old tracks to the new, they did not fail to execute and put on a show. Sure, the venue wasn’t full. But sometimes a small crowd of devout, fervent fans dancing and rapping along means more than blockbuster ticket sales.