Now they rock a house party at the drop of a hat

How historic was last night’s Beastie Boys show at the Orange Peel? It was historic enough for Mike D to note its significance, and pepper the audience with lots of Asheville love and some hammy remarks: “I wanna know if Ashe-land is ready to dance!”

Oh and how Asheland was ready to dance. Pinch me — was it really a week ago that the smack-out-of-nowhere news came that the freakin’ Beastie Boys would play the 900-capacity Orange Peel? The same Beasties who are headlining a slew of giant summer festivals, with no other announced club dates on the tour? And come on … Biz Markie opening? Seriously? If I hadn’t gone home last night sticky from sweat and beer and with a throbbing foot from jumping up and down all night, well, I might not have believed it when I woke this morning.

It was the Beasties first time in our fair burg, washed in by the perfect storm of just the right distance from the band’s next stop (Bonnarroo) and just the most awesome venue for a rare club performance (The Orange Peel). And how the sweating, beer-sloshing, googly-eyed dancing crazies knew it.

Could there be a better opener than Biz Markie singing “The Biz vs. The Nuge”? I submit there could not. As he belted out the brief, catchy ditty from 1992’s Check Your Head (gawd has it been that long?), the frenzy grew palpable and the Beasties came out and burst into “Time for Livin’.” And it. was. on.

Mike D has maniacal energy, and all three (along with Mix Master Mike and the drummer, I believe his name was Alfredo Ortiz) were en pointe and ridiculously tight. Having last seen them more than ten years ago, it was hard to know what to expect—from talking to friends after the show, I give the completely objective pronouncement that the show fulfilled all wildest dreams. And more…

Diamond, Horowitz and Yauch have wow chemistry: They joke and act the fool and hype each other and the crowd into absolute hysteria. Before launching “Shake Your Rump,” Mike D was egging Adrock on…“Are you going to dance the Jerry Lewis or the Pee Wee Herman?” Mike D asked. “This is the Jerry Lewis and the Funky Penguin,” Adrock answered, and then, yes, he did that dance.

They killed the old punk songs, playing their instruments like masters (back-up band? forget it—Mike D can still pound it out on the drums and belt it out like a champ…Yauch looks like he isn’t even sweating, but he’s tearin’ it up). They gnarled up their funk numbers and they didn’t miss a wicked beat of their rhymes, when they went that way (“Sure Shot,” “Pass the Mic”) and they weren’t shy about any of it. Whoa, no.

Highlights: Biz Markie joined the boys to sing “Benny and the Jets” (El Hub, who I happened into at the show, remarked at that point that Elton John would be proud, and I do believe he would have been). Mix Master Mike’s solo (the first song of the encore) was wicked. And while another friend wasn’t wild about Country Mike and his country-hat wearin’, acoustic “Heart Attack Man”-playin’ intro to the real song, I thought it was pretty damn funny.

In anticipation of the show, I rewatched a borrowed video (thanks, Carrie, I swear I will give it back soon) of Spike Jonze music videos. Could there be a better music video than “Sabotage”? I submit there could not. But one thing Jonze remarks about working with the Beasties is that they did it their way. They didn’t follow anyone else’s path, they innovated; and he adds, they were fun to work with and creative.

The Beasties covered the ground of five or six bands last night (El Hub kept count), without being schizophrenic and being showmen all the while. I kept thinking about Jonze’s remarks, and about three city kids coming up and making music as strong now, and as strong live, as ever.

Set list:
1. Biz v. Nuge
2. Time for living
3. Remote Control
4. Root Down
5. Sure Shot
6. Super Disco Breakin’
7. Posse in Effect
8. Shake Your Rump
9. Gratitude
10. Electric Worm
11. Sabrosa
12. Lee Majors
13. Transit Cop
14. Riot Fight
15. Body Movin’
16. BBoys in the Cut
17. Do it
18. Pass the Mic
19. So Whatcha Want
20. Ricky’s Theme
21. Pow
22. Lighten Up
23. Egg Raid
24. Tough Guy
25. Benny and the Jets
26. Mixmaster Mike’s DJ Solo
27. Intergalactic
28. 3 MC’s
29. Country Mike/Heart Attack Man
30. Sabotage


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18 thoughts on “Now they rock a house party at the drop of a hat

  1. displaced Ashevillian

    Absolutely, positively awesome. I wish I had been there. Ms. Sulock, thank you for this.

  2. Rebecca Sulock

    Mike D hyped the significance of the show: Talked about how this was the first time the Beastie Boys had played Asheville, and that it was a historic occasion. Gave the town a lot of shout-outs.

  3. Asheville Native

    They absolutely melted my face. Jaw dropping performance. Will they come back? Probably not. I’m glad I was a witness.

  4. Piffy!

    i was wondering that, too, john.

    does calling asheville “ashland”, really count as a ‘shout-out’?

  5. Rebecca Sulock

    The story says he noted the historical sig. of the show, which he did by saying the show was a historic occasion and they’d never played Asheville before and giving props to the town.

    He referenced Asheville by its proper name, then played off it in several other derivations.

    And I’ve been to a gracious plenty of shows where the performers didn’t acknowledge the locale (and many where they did, also). But none of them were the freakin’ Beastie Boys.

  6. James Fisher

    Beasties killed it at Bonnaroo. I was way up front and looked back at the many, many thousands. Thought of how crazy it was that they were just at the Orange Peel playing for a crowd one-zillionth the size… Asheland better have been dancing!

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