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A demanding good time

Kottonmouth Kings with La Coka Nostra
The Rave
Milwaukee, WI
Mar. 12, 2009
Kottonmouth Kings Kottonmouth Kings Kottonmouth Kings

Story by Mike Linneman
Photos by Gypsy Davey

American music has a rich history of 'stoner' contributions. Ranging from songs with sly hints amongst more politically charged themes, to the in your face 'everyone knows what this song is about' variety. So where does Kottonmouth Kings fall in that hemp woven musical tapestry?

Last Thursday night at the Rave, the Kottonmouth Kings, along with La Coka Nostra made the case that this is a form of 'stoner' music never seen before. This is not your laid back, mellow out 'Dark Side of the Moon' type of weed music. This is an assault on the mellow, a kick to the head of those who would lie around. The full capacity crowd was up & jumping from the go. Non stop energy. DEMANDING a good time. DECLARING it a party. This is not your Dad's Bob Marley.

The California based crew lit up the stage Thursday night as part of the "Bring Tha Noize Tour" with Big B and La Coka Nostra. Big B got the place jumping early. Blowin it up with songs like "Hooligan", the bass shaking your clothes away from your skin, Big B set the table for what was to come. La Coka Nostra - a hip-hop sextet featuring members of '90s Irish rap group House of Pain - came next and took the energy to the next level. Bandanas draped over their faces, La Coka Nostra's songs became a volley back and forth between the crowd and them, with call-and-response chants and the DJ scratching questions and answers right along side of them.

It was then time for the Kottonmouth Kings to make their dramatic entrance thru the dark onto the stage. Once they did, you could see hints of light, the tracers of flying joints and baggies being thrown onstage but you could hear nothing. The roar of the crowd was deafening. The atmosphere and scent were not lost on Daddy X. "It smells like California in here," and to no surprise, the audience immediately started jumping to the beat starting up and then collectively lost their damn minds. Singing along, jumping, grinding, sweating, cheering, and then somehow....taking their energy up another notch, matching the bands intensity.

KMK, has been touring together for fifteen years. They are known for being a group with thick, big, beats & a rock/punk edge. The group consists of Daddy X, Johnny Richter and D-Loc on vocals, DJ Bobby B on turntables, Lou Dog on drums & Pakelika kick it on "Hydro-Mechanix." KMK is known as a party band and with endorsements from 'High Times' magazine; they are also not shy about their love of marijuana. Harder to detect is the full story of these guys. Digging deeper I found that KMK will take proceeds from their newest record The Green Album and donate them to various charities like Ward 57 & the Life Rolls On Foundation, helping wounded Iraq War veterans and those with spinal cord injuries. They decided to donate their profits "just as a small gesture....we wanted to give back," said Daddy X.

Good causes aside, this band delivers the set list with break neck intensity and stage pacing laced with what appears to be mean intentions. That is until another member of the band flings himself into the crowd, riding safely on their good will and hands. Killing the fans with "Blaze of Glory," and it's relentless pace and then steering them towards a song like "Rainfall" which stands on the other shore touting things like 'true importance' and 'defining your own happiness' with refrains of "Stand tall and let the rain fall."

Lots of contradictions. In style, attitude, lyrics and even in their creative choices. Yet there was absolutely no contradiction in the performance. DEMANDING a good time. DECLARING it a party. Not a bad strategy in these times of ours.
Kottonmouth Kings Kottonmouth Kings
Kottonmouth Kings Kottonmouth Kings

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