The Pharcyde are a group whose aesthetic was tailored perfectly for hip hop’s Daisy Age. However, they were perhaps a bit late to fully capitalise on the market that was paved for them by the likes of A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul. They took on the task of flying the flag for the alternative side of L.A hip hop during Dr. Dre and Tupac’s heyday and it something they are still firmly willing to do today. Due to some legal issues with past members of the group who are still touring under the original name, the show was advertised as ‘Bizarre Ride 2 the Pharcyde’ to avoid confusion or lawsuits. These issues have not hindered, but most likely have inspired, their undeniable energy on stage as they proved during this smile-inducing gig at the Sugar Club.
There is no literal or figurative barrier between the act and the crowd. They happily pause to take photos or rap from the seating area with fans, always acknowledging and appreciating the love being shown for them. Selling copies of their most recent release doesn’t feel like a money grabbing tactic, but serves in highlighting the hard work and grinding that comes with being a hip hop artist, even when you’re considered as a ‘classic’ group. Others in their position would maybe feel above peddling hard copies but it is this dedication that has enabled them to still fill venues in 2015, even with a duplicate group touring the world at the same time.
Each member of the now 4 man group is a seasoned professional on the microphone. Breath control and projection are clearly second nature to each one of the emcees. Fair enough they have been performing a lot of this set for past 20 odd years, but there is no feeling that they are just going through the motions. K Natural may be able to mime Slimkid3’s crowd interaction word for word, probably having heard 100s of times by now, but if it isn’t broke why try fix it?