8/20/14 — Paradise Rock Club

Are you a lady? Do you like smoking weed?

If you answered “Yes!” to both of those questions, you were a great candidate to have attended the Hieroglyphics show last week at Paradise Rock Club. Between boom-bap beats, old-school faves, and new treats, Del and the Hiero crew gave many a shoutout to those who partake — especially the ladies.

Needless to say, fans came equipped. When Hiero dropped the beat for “Lighters,” little flames dotted the crowd as if stars lighting up a hazy, overcast night.

With eight people on the small Paradise stage, Hiero members’ footwork as they danced around each other was almost as impressive as the rhymes they exchanged. They hopped around, weaving between one another like a life-sized, magical game of cups and balls. As the lights swung up and down and cooled from pink to blue and back again, the performers blended together into a unit. It wasn’t just Del or Opio or Pep Love — it was the crew as a whole, finishing each other’s lines in a classic 90s hip-hop group style.

With the crowd riled, Hiero began a “Trayvon” chant — briefly playing activist before performing “Gun Fever” off their 2013 album, The Kitchen. In light of the recent shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, the song hit hard. People raised their hands in the air, pumping their fists to the beat.

Though mostly everyone in attendance seemed to be in their late teens and 20s, the crowd thinned as the night played on (an unfortunate result of a 10:30 PM start time on a Wednesday night). There is something pitiable in watching an impassioned performance in front of waning numbers. Still, for an underground hip-hop group that formed almost a quarter century ago, there’s something to be said for drawing a moderately sized crowd in the middle of the week.

They’re not yet as ancient as their name suggests, but they’re getting there. See you guys in 2040.

Hazy Beats: Hieroglyphics
  • Energetic performance for a 20+ year-old group
  • Impressive command of verses
  • Wednesday night crowd thinned as show went on
  • Didn't offer much in the way of covers, improvisation, or other live "special features"
7.5Overall Score

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