By Galit Gilor
It was a chilly Wednesday night in Montreal, but the winds could not be felt inside the Metropolis, as excited fans gathered to see The Roots play. On the contrary, the venue was blazing hot, as the sold-out crowd flowed the sounds of the livest hip-hop band.
The group was in town as part of the 2010 edition of the Montreal International Jazz Festival, attracting a crowd that reflected the diversity of the city. Students, 40-something adults, tourists, hipsters, and hip-hoppers all piled-up close to the stage, standing side-by-side while waiting to comply eagerly with The Roots’s every demand.
The heterogeneous nature of the crowd reflected the group’s mass appeal. Some, like Jennifer Jones-Clark, came from out of town just to see the show.
“I come from the United States every year to the Jazz Fest, and I always come to this venue because they always have amazing, cutting-edge artists; and that’s what The Roots are, “ said Jones-Clark.
The Metropolis was the appropriate venue for this show, as its size allowed for fans to connect with the band. Throughout the show, members of the crowed waved their hands high, and sang along to every song, as most ignored the heat and the sweaty neighbors standing next to them.
Friends Christopher Laard and Simon Lenoir were excited to hear the band’s new material. “Unfortunately, I don’t know much of their older stuff, but with Rising Down, I listened to that, and flipped out, “ said Laard. “I haven’t listened to their new album [How I Got Over], so tonight should be quite a surprise, and quite fun.”
About the show, Lenoir said, “I’m a big fan of live performance for rap, and The Roots are one of the best, so that’s why I came. But, I also think that more people would have showed up if the show was outside.”
By the end of the show, the group left the crowd starving for more of their jazzed-up sounds and guitar solos. To make their feelings heard, members of the crowd began screaming, and stomping their feet in unison, demanding for an encore. “Roots, Roots, Roots, Roots,” they chanted.
Much to the audience’s pleasure, the band came back to play more songs. “Who do you want?,” screamed singer Black Thought. Prompting the crowd to chant back, “Roots Crew.” “When do you want it?,” Black Thought continued. “Right now,” the crowd replied. At that point the crowd was rilled-up, as the group completed a set that lasted almost two hours and a half – with no intermission.
David Rimock, who had seen The Roots play live shows before, still had the time of his life. “I loved the show. It’s actually the fourth time I’ve seen them, and they amaze me every time with the way that they are able to mix so many different styles into their music,” he said.
The Roots’s new album, How I Got Over, was released on June 21, 2010. Fans can also catch them every weeknights as the house band on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon.