This past weekend in Las Vegas, the talk of the town was the McGregor vs. Khabib MMA fight taking place at T-mobile Arena, with the weigh-ins taking place Friday afternoon and the fight on Saturday night the city was buzzing with anticipation. Fortunately, for me (and many others) this also brought Everlast to town. Everlast (real name Erik Schrody) is an American rapper, singer, and songwriter well-known as the front man of the hugely popular early 90's hip-hop sensation, House of Pain. He has also had a very successful solo career with more of a blues/rock/rap style of music, producing eight studio albums. Everlast is on tour promoting his September 2018 full-length album release, Everlast Presents Whitey Ford's House of Pain.
Everlast created his own "Ultimate Pre-Fight Party" at Brooklyn Bowl on Friday night, hosted by MMA fighter Tyron Woodley, with special guests Psycho Realm and Evidence. The opening act, Psycho Realm, is an American hip-hop group originally formed in 1989 by brothers Sick Jacken (Joaquin Gonzales) and Big Duke (Gustavo Gonzales). In old school hip-hop fashion Psycho Realm uses a dual rapper format, bouncing lyrics back and forth between the two front men, while a DJ works the turntable spinning the backing tracks. Sick Jacken is a very well-established, highly touted rapper who has appeared in numerous collaborations with the likes of P.O.D., B-Real, as well as the other two performers for the evening (Evidence and Everlast).
Evidence (Michael Perretta) is an American rapper and record producer and, as evidenced by the mass applause as he took the stage, is also very well-known. During the majority of his set the crowd was rapping right along with him, word for word, and dancing energetically. In between sets UFC Welterweight Champion Tyron Woodley pumped up the crowd and even put on a rap performance of his own. He obviously relished his role as emcee, and handled the duties quite well (not that I would ever speak disparagingly of him. I've seen him fight!).
Finally, the moment everyone had been waiting for had arrived, as Everlast strolled on stage holding a glass of red wine and walked over to the drum riser, where 2 guitars stand ready for use. One was a Gretsch Black Falcon, and the other a Gibson acoustic electric. He selected the well-worn Black Falcon and slung the strap over his shoulder, and after one last sip of wine he headed for the mic at the front of the stage. The DJ started with the beat and Everlast began picking the heavily distorted Falcon's strings. As he starts to sing the lyrics for the first song, "The Climb", he lets the guitar pick fall to the ground, opting to finger-pick the rest of the way. He rolls through the first 4 songs, stopping only briefly between to grab another sip of wine and some water, his raspy vocals and distorted hollow-body Falcon a winning combination that blues lovers will appreciate and enjoy. The Grammy winning artist has not lost a step over the years and still sounds incredible!
After "Ends" he trades in the Falcon for the Gibson acoustic and introduces another new song from his September release. Just five songs in, and three of those are from the new album, showcasing his strong writing skills, as every song is solid, classic Everlast. He continues with the acoustic and finishes the stretch with "It Ain't Easy", and puts away the guitar and pulls the mic off of the stand.
Here's where he departs from the bluesy rock style of music and returns to his House of Pain roots, with a bit of a blues/rap combo in "The Culling" (another track from his latest release). After "The Culling", Sick Jacken joins Everlast on stage to perform a song from their collaboration effort called "Warporn Industries" (checkout the free download at WarpornIndustries.com). Sick remained on stage throughout the next few songs, all of which were House of Pain originals, then Everlast grabbed up his acoustic guitar once again and enchanted the crowd with a beautiful solo version of the song that won him a Grammy, Carlos Santana's "Put Your Lights On". Everlast follows that up with the soulful tune "White Trash Beautiful", and the hit single "What It's Like". Finishing out the set for the evening, Everlast performs a cover of "Folsom Prison Blues", and then he closes everything out with the song that everyone has been waiting for, "Jump Around", evoking cheers from the audience as a sea of heads bobbed up and down.
Everlast is a fantastic live performer and this show was no exception. While he may have come to town to party before the MMA fight, he was all business, and played his music like the professional that he is. It was a performance to remember!
Everlast Set List: The Climb Don't Complain Today (Watch Me Shine) Ends (acoustic) Smokin' and Drinkin' Black Coffee My Medicine (Snoop Dog) It Ain't Easy (no guitar) The Culling (with Sick Jacken of Psycho Realm) Warporn Industry (Everlast, Sick Jacken, Divine Styler) Back From The Dead (House of Pain) On Point/Who's The Man? (House of Pain) Put Your Head Out (House of Pain) (acoustic) Put Your Lights On (Carlos Santana) White Trash Beautiful What It's Like Folsom Prison Blues (Johnny Cash)
Jump Around (House of Pain)
Everlast photos from Randy Udell / R U Rockin' Photos
Evidence, Psycho Realm and Tyron Woodley photos from Randy Udell / R U Rockin' Photos