Strange Stagefellows Public Enemy and the Cult Rock Out in Their Own Ways

The Joint at the Hard Rock, June 6

Public Enemy at The Joint Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas, NV

Photo by Erik Kabik

So, what do these two bands—one hip-hop, one hard rock—have in common aside from the fact that most of their fans are over 40? … Anyway, Public Enemy went on first. No prelude, no opening act, they just hit the stage and went all-out. With a full band and the skilled DJ Lord backing them up, clown prince Flavor Flav and truth speaker Chuck D did what they’ve done best for 30 years: Put on a high-energy show that keeps the audience’s hands in the air. With barely a break for breath, Public Enemy threw down “911 Is a Joke,” “Bring the Noise” and “He Got Game.”

Next up was the Cult, who opened with “The Phoenix,” an epically wailing track that put Billy Duffy’s incendiary guitar work to the fore, while songs such as the brooding “Gone” and the booty-shaking “She Sells Sanctuary” were solid. The Cult’s modern take on old-school rock also inspired classic rock responses from the audience—the pumping of fists, the spilling of beer, the making out with two guys at once. Still, the Cult didn’t have quite the energy level of Public Enemy: Ironically, the hip-hop act was the one that rocked hardest. ★★★✩✩

Photos by Erik Kabik /

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