Cypress Hill @ o2 Academy, 4th December 2018

Cypress Hill @ o2 Academy, 4th December 2018Cypress Hill @ o2 Academy, 4th December 2018Cypress Hill @ o2 Academy, 4th December 2018Cypress Hill @ o2 Academy, 4th December 2018Cypress Hill @ o2 Academy, 4th December 2018Cypress Hill @ o2 Academy, 4th December 2018Cypress Hill @ o2 Academy, 4th December 2018Cypress Hill @ o2 Academy, 4th December 2018Cypress Hill @ o2 Academy, 4th December 2018Cypress Hill @ o2 Academy, 4th December 2018Cypress Hill @ o2 Academy, 4th December 2018Cypress Hill @ o2 Academy, 4th December 2018

There are a few things you can confidently anticipate from a Cypress Hill gig; an aromatic scent across the venue, a penetration of base in your soul, and the kind of language that would give your nan a heart attack. This is what I wanted, and this is just what I received.

An alluring scent lead to the O2 Academy where a real mix of people packed out the place, an edge of alternative where hip-hop meets rock, leather meets skater, stoner meets drinker. Irrespective of style, all came for the West Coast blend of rap, hip hop and rock these legends were notorious for.

Mix Master Mike warmed up with some big hits spinning the decks and spinning himself, of course dropping some Beastie Boys classics, and got the crowd fired. On came Eric Bobo, B-Real and Sen Dog, and it was just as I’d hoped. Sen Dog addresses the crowd ‘Sup mother*ckers’, his hugely built chest that looks like he could lift ten of me, crisp fresh-shirt and ultimate swagger, B-Real looks smooth as in a full black Adidas tracksuit and dark glasses. The boys get straight into it with Band of Gypsies from the new album Elephants on Acid and the crowd gets their instant sway on.

B-Real makes an offer, ‘Birmingham, are you ready to f*ck with Cypress Hill?’ and the crowd scream their hail in reply. They start up When the Sh*t Goes Down we are ready, and appreciation for the cult classic is felt around the room with the waves of skunk. They just keep coming, Boom Biddy Bye Bye feels epic, the base really hammering as the hits roll.

Checking out who in the house have heard the new album and met with a resounding ‘YES!’, B-Real introduces another from EoA, Put Em In the Ground and the reaction proves we all know it. The guys stack an ensemble weapons and smoke tunes (yes, a common theme for Cypress Hill if you didn’t know), and the audience love it. It seems bizarre when you think that these guys have brought their music from a place where this is their culture, all the more we should enjoy their spoils while embracing gun control.

Sen Dog takes a turn centre stage and a Mexican flag is thrown on stage for Latin Lingo, Latin Thugs and Tequila Sunrise. We get treated to a little salsa from Sen Dog after the back to back Latin numbers which the crowd love. That guy is cool in everything he does.

Mix Master Mike and Eric Bobo jam and keep the crowd wanting more until the boys come back out and encourage anyone that has smoke to get it out for Roll It Up, Light It Up, Smoke It Up. And that they do. Followed by I Wanna Get High and the call for ‘Is there a doctor in the house?’, Dr Greenthumb follows suit with the stoner anthems.

This is the gig that just keeps giving. Having already taken you back through their catalogue and 27 years of unique sound right through to today’s hashish acid elephant trip, and with the whole room in synchronisation with the sound, they bring out Insane in the Membrane  and the place erupts. It you weren’t moving before, you definitely are now. Illusions accelerates the feeling of insane to near nirvana, and the house is finally brought down with (Rock) Superstar, the perfect balance of energy and euphoria to a crowd who have had their expectations exceeded.

The crowd know it’s over, but shout to show their love and appreciation, and B-Real asks everyone to make the peace sign while they take a selfie from the stage. They salute the mother*ckers of Birmingham one final time, B-Real saying thank you for the joint launched on stage for them in a test tube.

These guys have always been on my bucket list, and it seems time has been very agreeable with them. By no means have these guys had their day. Age is just a number, and with nearly three decades behind them they are still knocking out killer tunes and delivering an outstanding show; style, stamina, sophistication and all the damn smoke.

Their ‘what next’ news meant you left to a wave of excitement too, MixMasterMike touring with Beastie Boys, B-Real with Prophets of Rage, get me there already! These guys are absolute kings and I’m so grateful to have seen them in what is still very much their heyday.

Reviewer: Ceri Osborne

Photographer: Marc Osborne

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