The history of the Beastie Boys has come full circle.
The Capitol recording artists are on tour to support “Check Your Head” and easily sold out the Hollywood Palladium.
Having begun their careers as hard-core punk brats who crossed over to hip-hop with their seminal singles “She’s on It” and “Cookie Puss,” the Beastie Boys have picked up real instruments again and are rocking accordingly.
At one point in the show, the band even played its former hard-core theme, “Egg Raid on Mojo,” to an audience that had likely never heard it. Not that it mattered–the jacked-up tempos of hard-core punk appealed to the young, mostly male crowd as much as the band’s smart-assed rap stylings did.
Opening with some of the raps from 1986’s “Licensed to Ill,” like the underground hit “Rhymin’ and Stealin’,” the band then introduced some of its newer pieces to the crowd, which lapped them up, especially “In 3’s” and “Pass the Mic.” Unlike most of the rap acts on the circuit, the generally bratty Beasties forgo the stentorian macho and endless cheerleading that render those shows usually tedious and almost unbearable. One of the openers was just that, and it showed how far along the evolutionary scale the New York trio has come.
And it revealed how much staying power they have. With former contemporaries and labelmates Run DMC totally on the ropes and the shelf life of an average rap act being about two albums, the Beastie Boys have endured and prevailed. The switch to live instruments helps quite a bit, as other hip-hoppers such as L.L. Cool J. and Marky Mark have proved; live, nothing has less dynamic power than a backing tape, and these guys know it. Not bad for a bunch of spoiled white dudes.