- THEY'RE BAAACK: The Black Sheep.
With a lineup of different talent all over town, the words of one classic hip-hop duo appearing at the Revolution Room set the tone for this musical week: You can get with this or you can get with that.
In the opening lines of their single “The Choice is Yours,” hip-hop masters Black Sheep suggest that you’ll never see them coming, and in the early ’90s this was true. The group, featuring Andres “Dres” Titus and William “Mista Lawnge” McLean, made an unprecedented chart-topping debut with their album “Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing” and hit song “Flavor of the Month.” They were part of the Native Tongues Posse, which included A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul, and were praised among the hip-hop community for their intelligent and humorous lyrics. They mixed jazz influences, along with classic old-school sound, to create something apart from the African-influenced style of their peers.
More “breakin’ a beat” than “poppin’ a cap,” what Black Sheep did best was allow themselves and others to laugh at the extremes of musical trends, such as gangsta rap. “U Mean I’m Not” follows one boy’s train of thought about extreme penalties for minor infractions (using his toothbrush, breaking the yolk of his egg).
Despite their swift rise to fame, the group’s second album never saw the same popular success, and in 2000 the duo split on less than friendly terms. They reunited once to record a track for the movie “Once in the Life” and released a mix tape this summer titled “8WM” (old hits remixed with new material).
The current sound relies on some more traditional modern-day hip-hop tricks (an abundance of female improv vocals in the background), and the delivery is a bit heavier on the serious or the sexed up (reminiscences of the “glory days” of Black Sheep or a call to hit the dance floor). But Black Sheep hardly forgets what made them great, and mixed in between a soliloquy about too much champagne and drugs are the classic words of the hip-hop legends.
The show starts at 9 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 13, at the Revolution Room.
Bret Michaels, the diabetic, “meaty-thighed” sex symbol for the classic power ballad, plays the Rev Room on Tuesday, Dec. 12.
In 1984 Michaels formed the band Paris in Harrisburg, Pa. The glam metal band (inspired by the likes of Kiss and Aerosmith) moved to L.A. and became (the now notorious) Poison. Seeing themselves as akin to the mockumentary band Spinal Tap, they took the name Poison from a T-shirt that one of the movie’s band members wore, and Poison fit the stereotype well, having the same sort of look, foul-ups and often heated arguments on stage.
The band was no critics’ darling, often disregarded for its shallow, hedonistic lyrics. However, with Michaels’ hit “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” in 1988, it was obvious that Poison’s fans weren’t paying attention to the critics. Those famous lyrics rang true for the band’s image as well. Known for his good looks and exhibitionist tendencies, Michaels plastered pop magazine covers with his bared chest and big hair, which some suggest reduced the band’s credibility in the music world. His notoriety increased when a home-made porn video of Michaels and Pamela Anderson was publicly released in 2005.
Michaels has released several solo albums. His most recent effort, “Freedom of Sound,” is more country inspired and includes a countrified version of “Every Rose Has Its Thorn.”
Other big shows this week include Nightflying’s 27th Anniversary Party at Juanita’s on Thursday, Dec. 7. The $10 ticket will get you in to see such familiar faces from the Nightflying pages as First Impressions, Barbara Raney, Weakness for Blondes, Bob Hayes, Big John Miller, Big Silver, Salty Dogs and more. When the party ends at Juanita’s, it just moves a few doors down to Midtown Billiards with Big John rocking out the rest of the night … In indie pop rock this week you can find Poeboy Society, whose rock is often infused with country and blues undertones. The band, which reunited after a couple of years off, took a brief hiatus in the summer due to drummer Sean Lindsey’s emergency stomach surgery. Thursday, Dec. 7, they’ll be joined by the Global Test and Underclaire at Sticky Fingerz … Also on Thursday at White Water, see Nashville rockers the Comfies and Little Rockers the Easys. The Comfies match nicely with their name by narrowly skirting the line of originality but always settling, comfortably, back into the mold of palatable but plain pop-rock. The Easys, though riding the same trend wagon, mix it up a little with more raw harmonizing (like Costello meets the Beach Boys) and less pre-packaged polish … On Friday at Revolution it’s Fayetteville reggae artist Joseph Israel. He’s opened for the likes of Burning Spear and Ziggy Marley … At Acoustic Sounds Cafe on Friday, see French guitarist Philippe Bertaud and Nashville singer Joni Bishop … On Saturday at White Water, Radiohead-inspired rock is featured with Wooden Stares and Cars That Crash … On Friday at Sticky Fingerz it’s a Holiday Salute with the Dempseys and on Saturday, the Taylor Grocery Band from Oxford, Miss. … On Saturday at Vino’s catch the Rockin’ Guys Holiday Spectacular with special guests Go Fast and Dying Breed … On Friday at White Water, it’s River City Tanlines from Memphis with Smoke Up Johnny … On Saturday at Juanita’s it’s swimsuit model Quish’s Blackout Birthday Bash featuring Familymade and Tenslim … This week at Afterthought, R&B keyboardist and singer William Staggers plays Friday and Saturday, while Brandon Dorris is featured Monday and Rodney Block appears Tuesday.