[SXSW] the Roots @ the Mohawk 3.17.12
April 8th, 2012 by Matt
What an incredible show. This was my first time seeing the Roots, but within a minute of them taking the stage I understood why they were often called America’s best live band. I knew probably two or three songs they performed that day, but every one of them had me absolutely hooked.
The Roots are probably the only group I can think of where every single member on stage is entertaining enough to watch for the entire show. Sure, the members take turns doing goofy center-stage activities, but everyone on stage is constantly pulling pranks on each other, dancing or trying to make someone else laugh. They’re having such fun on stage it’s hard to believe they’ve been doing this for 25 years — it’s like seeing an older married couple still holding hands.
In addition to a lengthy set by SXSW standards (around 90 minutes), we were also treated to a good amount of covers. Though mostly snippets, the covers were diverse and numerous. We heard bits of Bo Diddley’s “Who Do You Love,” GnR’s “Sweet Child O Mine,” Kool & the Gang’s “Jungle Boogie,” Led Zep’s “Immigrant Song” and some more that I’ve forgotten. Mostly the covers were used to transition into other Roots material, which is a great idea that doesn’t seem to pop up that often any more.
In the middle of the set ?uestlove called over a man standing on the side of the stage taking photos, Philly’s DJ Jazzy Jeff. He stood next to ?uestlove and partook in a drum jam session that lasted for a couple minutes. Everyone in the group stood around laughing and one guy even recorded the session on Jazzy’s cell phone.
At the end of the show I saw fit to proclaim this show one of the five best I’ve ever seen. It’s definitely still got a shot at cracking that list, but if you consider that the other bands that would surround it are groups that I knew every word to every song in the set, it becomes apparent just how impressive this show was.
More photos after the break