Jurassic 5 picks up right where it left off at Stage AE show

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If Jurassic 5's Pittsburgh performance on Wednesday night is any indication, the dream of the ’90s is alive and well.

The Los Angeles-based band has reunited since its 2007 breakup for the Word of Mouth Tour, celebrating the group’s 20th anniversary. The band picked up as if it had never left, exciting a nostalgic audience with its infamous melodic riffs, quickly moving lyrics and old-school hip-hop feel.

Jurassic 5 maintains a commitment to classic street hip-hop – the kind that truly captures a snapshot in time -- and the entire lineup, including three opening acts, seemed to reject modern hip-hop.

Supernatural, one of the openers, rapped, “[Expletive] Lil’ Wayne and it’s not 2Chainz.". He later told the audience “I can tell this is a real hip-hop audience.” There may be a divide between the old and new, but it’s clear that this audience has maintained a love and commitment to the classic.

Opening with “After School Special” off the 2002 album “Power in Numbers,” Jurassic 5 subsequently moved from a “flashback to 2000,” riling up the audience with the classic “Quality Control.” If the performance was anything short of incredible before, it was stellar now.

They then moved to a “flashback to the ’90s” with hits like “Concrete” and “High Fidelity.” Though they incorporated new mixes with the help of high-tech synths and digitized beats, the older songs – the ones that got us falling in love with Jurassic 5 from the start – were what felt the most right and most comfortable. The group seemed more comfortable with the work, as if each song had been lived in and worn in. Jurassic 5 seemed a little more hesitant with newer work, as if unsure how it would be received.

The audience, mostly over 25, loved every minute of the performance, jumping, flailing their arms and moving the entire time. Many said they had seen Jurassic 5 multiple times but not since 2002 or the late 1990s. Some had traveled from different cities and states to come see the band.

Jurassic 5 has a loyal audience, and still seemed genuinely surprised when people howled and applauded after the set and before a lengthy encore that included requests from the audience. After the show, the band was eager to sign autographs and talk to audience members. Though they’re getting older, Jurassic 5 played with infectious charisma and a youthful spirit that included bits of breakdancing and quick choreography.

Despite a telling name, Jurassic 5 is anything but old and antique – the band’s melodic and tonal instrumentation and impressively synchronized rap is timeless. Jurassic 5 isn’t going anywhere.


Kate Mishkin: kmishkin@post-gazette.com.

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