I already wrote about Rock the Bells yesterday for XXL, and you know how it is once you write about something once. You don't really feel like sitting there and writing the same shit all over. So if you're interested in reading about the actual performances at Rock the Bells, you should probably check yesterday's post from XXL.
I did snap some photos while I was there and I figured I might post those here, but it's not like they're that good anyway, and even if they were, what good is a photograph without some sort of text to accompany it, to give it a sense of context. So I put together a little slide show of the photos I took at Rock the Bells. Only thing is, I did it in the most counterintuitive way possible.
What follows are my descriptions of the few photos I took at Rock the Bells that turned out well enough (relatively speaking) to post here; and after the jump, you'll find the actual photos themselves. My bad if anyone gets lost or anything.
1) First of all, the whole fucking weekend was just ridiculous in terms of logistics and crowd control. As soon as you got off the bus and walked the short distance to the field where the concert was held, you had to stand in this long-ass line to get patted down for weapons or whatever. The weird thing is, they weren't doing a very good pat-down job at all. I got in the line of the one woman who was there, hoping she might check my balls, but of course she didn't.
2) If I remember correctly, the first thing I did after I got there was head over to the concession stand, because I was hungry as shit. I woke up a bit too late to catch the free continental breakfast at the classy hotel I was staying in. Then I headed on over to the Paid Dues stage, which was not far from the hot dog tent, to finish my lunch and catch Cage. Fortunately, there weren't very many people over there at all.
3) If you've ever seen Cage perform live before (I caught him last summer on Mr. Lif's Mo Mega tour), you know he's got a dark, rather twisted sense of humor. Here he is pretty much daring the crowd to participate in whatever it is he was trying to do by holding the mic up to his pants as if it was his joint.
4) As the host of the Paid Dues stage, Murs made it a point to mock (like, in a really mean-spirited way) whoever happened to be playing on the main stage at the time. At this point, I think it was Mos Def and Talib Kweli. You'll also notice that he's dressed like a NASCAR driver-slash fruit.
5) Brother Ali really is as creepy to look at live as he describes on his records. He had that Kangol pulled down over half of his face the entire set, which helped matters. Also, the guy's an incredible rapper. He might even come off better live than on record, just because the sound on those Rhymesayers albums is never any good anyway, and live you can really appreciate the sheer level of force and clarity with which he can spit. If you get a chance, you should check him out live.
6) I know, this is a pretty shitty photo of the Roots. You should see the ones I took of PE, which I didn't include in this post. I think part of it is that there might have been some lingering dust in the air, and part of it's that I wasn't quite as close as I would get to the stage for the rest of the headliners, though I was already pretty close at this point.
7) The down side of being so close to the stage is that that's where all the crazy people are. I didn't even get any shots of the mosh pits, a few of which I had pretty much no choice but to be involved in, but I did get a few shots of people crowd surfing.
8) About three-fourths of the way through Cypress Hill's set, B-Real, who was puffing on a joint the whole time (like, while he was rapping) started talking about his favorite ways to smoke weed. According to B-Real, New York is all about blunts, but Cali is all about hits from the bong. Then Sen Dog emerged with this monster bong and took a big hit, to the crowd's utter amusement.
9) Between the Cypress Hill and Wu-Tang sets, I stuck my digital camera in the air and got a few shots of the audience. I'm pretty close to the stage at this point, and it's hard to make out just how far the audience extends. As you can see, there weren't very many (read any) black people in attendance.
10) Finally, here's a shot of the Wu just as they were hitting the stage. Notice the cheesy Shaolin Temple backdrop. After that, the crowd got way too crazy to get any good photos. Also, I noticed my camera was about out of batteries in between the Wu-Tang and Rage Against the Machine sets, so all I got of Rage were some shitty camera phone photos.
1) The line to get in
3) What's Cage doing here?
5) Brother Ali
6) The Roots
7) Crowd surfers
8) Sen Dog's bong hit
9) The crowd
10) The Wu hits the stage