Cypress Hill: New York Roseland Ballroom

The air inside Roseland is as thick as LA smog...

Wish you were at Cypress Hill’s show at New York’s Roseland Ballroom tonight? To recreate the concert in all of its blunted glory, pop in the band’s latest release, ‘Live At The Fillmore’, study the pictures on the sleeve, roll a big fat one, take a puff, and you’re almost there.

It’s not a duplicate experience, but it’s close, making it hard not to feel a little gypped. Cypress Hill play two-thirds of the tracks on the live album and even – horrors – use some of the same lines on the crowd. Tonight’s show also looks exactly like the one pictured on the CD. A massive $100 bill with tha Cypress boyz as President drapes the area behind the group, and a skull crowned with an upside-down cannabis leaf sits before Tony Touch, who’s on the turntables tonight.

With a live band behind them to amplify their sound and drill it into the ground, Cypress Hill flirt constantly with the hard rap/rock that is so popular today. ‘I Ain’t Goin’ Out Like That’, ‘Lick A Shot’, ‘Cock The Hammer’ and ‘Can’t Get The Best Of Me’ hit like a jackhammer, but the response from the crowd in-between songs feels tepid.

Perhaps it takes too much energy to show more enthusiasm. The air inside Roseland is as thick as LA smog, particularly during ‘I Wanna Get High’ when B-Real encourages, “If you got it in your pocket, take it out and fucking smoke it!” No one here needs their arms twisted, least of all B-Real, who lights up a massive joint onstage. Drummer Eric Bobo then whips out a long bong and both he and B-Real take hits off it, much to the crowd’s delight.

After ‘A To The K’ Sen Dog announces that they’re going to bring out a special guest who hasn’t played with Cypress Hill in years. The name Ricky Osbourne elicits quiet until it becomes clear that it’s B-Real posing as Ozzy Osbourne. The band plays Black Sabbath’s ‘War Pigs’ for a number that’s totally goofy yet strangely cool.

Cypress Hill close with the brutal ‘Riot Starter’ and ‘(Rock) Superstar’. Before the crowd can even think about motivating to cheer for an encore, the lights come on and it’s not even 11pm yet. Like, what a buzzkill dude.

Mia Quagliarello