A Legendary Crew Keeps it ‘Old School’

AXIS Theater at Planet Hollywood, September 19

MC Hammer | Photo by Alexander Zayas

MC Hammer | Photo by Alexander Zayas

Now that’s what I call a throwback. The Old School Block Party pulled together a staggeringly large crew of classic hip-hop artists, playing all your favorite jams. Shock G of Digital Underground and Biz Markie both brought humor and charisma to the proceedings, while Tone-Loc’s raspy flow kept it mellow.

Another purveyor of laid-back cool was Sir Mix-a-Lot. One of the evening’s highlights was his rendition of “Posse on Broadway”—the slow-rolling epic tale of one night spent cruising the streets of Seattle that’s part “Walk on the Wild Side” and part On the Road. He also did the mandatory “Baby Got Back” and “Anaconda,” with a few ladies from the audience coming onstage to provide backup booty.

En Vogue was actually only half of En Vogue plus another chick, but man, do they have a lot of hits. The ladies were flawlessly choreographed and in fine voice (if their backing tracks were a bit bombastic at times). “Free Your Mind” is still a rockin’ hybrid of the Supreme and Guns ‛n’ Roses, “Whatta Man” is still swinging and sassy and “Giving Him Something He Can Feel” remains the definitive version of the sultry R&B classic.

The headliner was MC Hammer, who took the stage with at least a dozen backup dancers. Handing out long-stemmed red roses during “Have You Seen Her,” Hammer wore a bright-red suit rather than his trademark baggy pants, but his horde of female dancers were clad in Hefty bag-style Hammer pants and bellhop-inspired bustiers. The crowd got even bigger during the concluding number “Can’t Touch This,” when audience members were pulled onstage. “Hammer time,” indeed.  ★★★✩✩

Photos by Alexander Zayas