Beastie Boys; Open’er Festival, Poland, Saturday, June 30 & Sunday, July 1

Hip-hop legends go instrumental at hardline festival

The Beastie Boys
Show 1//Main Stage

To say this festival is a bit militant would be an understatement. NME had to be smuggled into the no drinking, no smoking,

no facial hair, no fun festival in the back of a lorry.

But your contraband reviewer makes it on to the former army airfield site just in time to see the Brooklyn trio arrive clad as ’70s funk detectives. Cries of ‘Sabotage’ go out from a crowd that’s bizarrely marching rather than dancing and last the entire set. Perhaps it’s the only hit from their lengthy career to leave its mark on Polish jukeboxes. Despite this, part one of this weekend odyssey is Beastie Boys gold. In pouring rain they drop wax like it’s hip-hop war, old school cuts like ‘Sure Shot’ and ‘So What ’Cha Want’ juxtaposed with punk terrifiers ‘Time For Livin’’ and the rarely aired ‘Egg Raid On Mojo’. An afro-clad Mike D unifies the crowd during ‘Check It Out’ with a dance move known as the ‘fresh finger’. Dropping harder than communism, it’s proof that even in such harsh and confused surroundings, Beastie Boys know how to start a party. But this is the stuff that made them famous, how’s the much-touted ‘Gala Instrumental’ show going to go down tomorrow?

Show 2//Tent Stage

Anyone dedicated enough to turn up for their new album of lyricless guff (we snuck in through a hole cut in the tent) is in for a treat – they’ve dug further into the vaults, resurrecting forgotten album tracks and re-arranging classic singles. Newly arranged renditions of ‘Remote Control’ and ‘Root Down’ are magic, while ‘Song For The Man’ sees MCA drop the mic in favour of an upright bass, and instrumental newie ‘Suco De Tangerina’ sees people skiffling from side to side like Teddy Boys in 1956. As they wheel out ‘Time For Livin’’ one last time for the Polish audience, finally their mission is complete. We thought it would never work – how wrong we were.

Alex Hoban

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