I went to check out The Last Poets and Third Rail in New York City on Dec. 5th. The concert started at 8:15pm with the 2 guys from The Last Poets (Umar Bin Hassan and Abiodun Oyewole) introducing themselves to everyone. These guys were really funny, as each one was talking shit about the other! Abiodun asked a young boy why was he at the club; theboy said he was there to see The Last Poets. Then, Abiodun asked him for his name....afterwards, he said that he had a son by the same name. (Of course, I'm thinking, "That's either a coincidence, or HE'S BULLSHITTING!!") The Last Poets told their history for about 30 minutes. Abiodun told everyone about being stopped in Michigan for speeding at 90 mph, coming from a gig. The cop made a deal with him: "Since you are a poet, recite a funny poem for me. If the poem is funny enough, I'd might let you off without a ticket." Desperately trying to find something funny, he finally told the cop a HILARIOUS poem dedicated to Michael Jackson, called "Plastic Drastic"!! It was about, of course, Michael's surgery to turn himself white, complete with the small nose, miniscule lips, etc!!! They did a few more poems before Bernie Worrell quietly walked to the keyboards and began to play. The Last Poets began one of my favorite songs, "Black Rage", but Umar screwed up on the chorus lyrics a couple of times. The song was followed by "If We Only Knew" and something called "The Streets are Callin'" (or something like that). The very last song performed was called "This is Madness!!" (or something like that) and it was one of the weirdest freakouts I ever heard. Abiodun started the song by screaming and yelling "THIS IS MADNESS!!!!" repeatedly. That fact, coupled with Bernie's eerie, spaced-out keyboard chords, made it one of the scariest, heaviest numbers I ever heard, a la "Eulogy & Light" (from Funkadelic's "Free Your Mind and Your Ass Will Follow"). The song ended with both Last Poets guys screaming "THIS IS MADNESS!!!!!" The Last Poets's set was over around 9:30pm. Bernie left the stage first, followed by the other 2 guys. I got to shake hands with Umar and Abiodun.
At 9:50pm, the Third Rail set started with Bernie's masterpiece "Atmosphere". It is entertaining to watch Bernie because he is so animated!! (Watch his face when he is jamming on some freakish-sounding riff!) About 4 minutes later, Amina Claudine Myers (keyboardist/vocalist) came out, followed by Jerome "Bigfoot" Brailey (drummer extraordinare), Bill Laswell (bass), and James Blood Ulmer (lead vocalist).
The song listing:
Bill Laswell was excellent on the bass and James Blood Ulmer can really pluck a guitar. Of course, Bernie is the main attraction in this group, with his funky and freakish keyboard stylings (and one hell of a personality)!!! The Third Rail set was over at 10:50pm. DAMN!! It's was too short.......but then again, the group only has one album out!! Everything except "Give Me The Reason" came from the album "South Delta Space Age", released on Antilles/Polystar Records.
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