RZA : Anaheim House Of Blues

RZA premiers new material from forthcoming 'Digital Bullet' album...

As the mastermind behind the Wu-Tang Clan and its various cohorts, RZA has burned his trademark dirty beats, eerie loops and epic production deep inside the heads of hiphop fans. Nowhere near what’s popular in the genre, RZA is one of those trailblazers who goes his own way and gets everyone following.

Still, tonight’s capacity crowd at the House Of Blues, just across the street from Disneyland, don’t get to see too much of the legendary producer/MC, who gives up much stage time to his latest projects Killarmy and Black Nights.

The lanky Wu-Tang leader is only on stage for about half an hour before the venue’s early ten o’clock curfew (on a Saturday night?!) halts things, but he still manages to cram a diverse array of his styles into the set.

Never seeming to properly finish a song, he raps new material from his upcoming ‘Digital Bullet’ album, flowing right into funky joints from his underrated Bobby Digital solo debut while interspersing well received verses from Wu-Tang classics like ‘C.R.E.A.M.’, ‘Bring Tha Ruckus’ and ‘Reunited’. Calling his set a “Wu-Tang gangbang” even though there are no other proper Clan members present, he lets the Killarmy and Black Nights members as well as seemingly everyone on the crowded stage kick a few verses.

RZA‘s new material fits into that dark twisted electro-lounge style he invented for his unique Bobby Digital record. Lots of restrained keyboards and computer effects really get the crowd moving, especially the track ‘Throw Your Flags Up’, the chorus of which is already being chanted by everyone in the packed club.

As a concert, it’s a fun but sporadic showcase of some decent talent, and the whole thing is definitely a hyper, bouncing party, but the main man was such a small part of the event that no one gets exactly what they came for.

Michael Coyle