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  • Kottonmouth Kings – Hudson Theater, San Bernardino

    Wed, 02 Jan 2008 08:31:19

    Kottonmouth Kings – Hudson Theater, San Bernardino - The Inland Empire Goes Green

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    Kottonmouth Kings invaded the Inland Empire last Friday, leaving nothing but a trail of smoke and resin, literally. At the packed Hudson Theater, the underground stalwarts proved why they have stuck around so long. The reason was a simple one. KMK accomplished something that has even eluded many mainstream artists. They have created their very own, very die-hard, fan sub-culture. Crowd immersion became just as important as the show itself. The kids went nuts for the headliners as well as the three support acts—all artists on KMK-owned label Suburban Noize. Talk about branding! The San Bernardino fans stayed true to the underground style inherent in being a "Sub Noize Soulja," pimping out KMK-favored clothing company SRH (Supporting Radical Habits). Most of the dude fans were clad in SRH t-shirts, sideways flat-brimmed baseball caps, Dickies shorts, high white socks and skateboard sneakers. While the girls often sported super short jean skirts, two-tone blonde hair and SRH tops. More importantly, the fans knew every single word to all of the songs, even the obscure ones. A long way from both LA and Orange County, the bevy of kids crammed the house to support their heroes.

    The members of KMK stalked the stage, while spitting tried-and-true rhyme after rhyme about weed, the Earth, girls and more weed. In front of a colorful red backdrop, two giant billowing prop joints sat on both sides of the stage by large fake pot trees: the perfect setting for any hesher. "Wasted," "King Click," and "Bring It On" got the crowd jumping. The energy stayed high, even after three other performances. The crowd gave it their all, during the infectious "Where's the Weed at?" and "This is My Club Song." Live, KMK sounded dead-on, as each groove caused even more ass-shaking and dancing. Delivery was uncanny and fun: just how it should be.

    In the direct support slot, (Hed)pe revived the rap-metal of yesteryear with an underground hardcore spin. Frontman Jahred Shane commanded the crowd's attention. With his face painted white and his mohawk of dreadlocks flying about, he spit violently and directly on "Walk On By" and "Suffa." Equally heavy, "Peer Pressure" and "Raise Hell" ignited the mosh-pit with pummeling punk riffs and syncopated scratching courtesy of the ever-catchy DJ Product. (Hed)pe have been at it for a long time, and they still know how to rock a house. During the especially heavy "Waiting to Die" from the band's 2000 breakthrough Broke, Jahred's schizo MC style showed exactly why Hed has long outlasted the Nu Metal scene. Hed has also been adopted into the KMK family by both the band and their fans, not an easy feat coming from the OZZfest circuit.

    Of the openers, rapper Big B sounded a bit like Bubba Sparxxx, minus the Timbaland production. Cuts like "Put 'Em Up" and "White Trash Life," were audience favorites. Meanwhile, Dirtball, another white dude, combined a fast spit with quick beats. Big B and Dirtball's duets elicited the largest early response from the fans in the crowd, as they stopped browsing the pipe and SRH booths to sing along.

    From the style to the sing-a-longs, it was evident that the KMK crowd were far more than just fans. They comprised a culture that rabidly supports their stoned SoCal underground hip-hop messiahs. It can't be denied, haters can try, but KMK still fly, high.

    — Rick Florino

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    Tags: Kottonmouth Kings, (hed) p.e., Big B, The Dirtball

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