Cypress Hill at the Ogden Theatre, 4/20/12

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Cypress Hill gets it. After coming to town last year on April 19, the premiere stoner rappers of the last two decades intentionally made a 2012 performance in Denver on the actual weed holiday of the year: April 20. As B-Real shared with a sold-out Ogden Theatre last night, he had inadvertently discovered our secret: Marijuana plus altitude makes us "high-high." By 9 p.m., the Ogden Theatre resembled a casting call for a cliché stoner movie: men in tie-dye t-shirts and blinged "420" jerseys mingled with women in smiley face tank tops with crossed out eyes. Security haplessly policed the situation by shining flashlights on lit joints, but there seemed to be no point -- the crowd was there to get high with Cypress Hill.

Puffs of smoke rose from every corner of the massive theater as heads waited patiently for the one and only act of the evening to arrive. Meanwhile, venerable West Coast DJ -- and now touring member of Cypress Hill -- Julio G set the predictable stoner scene, dropping George Clinton's "Atomic Dog," Bell Biv Devoe's "Poison," tracks by Eazy, Dr. Dre and the like, but it kept the people content for a good ninety minutes.

Just before 10:30 p.m., MCs B-Real and Sen Dog and percussionist Eric Bobo appeared, opening with "Get 'Em Up," and the smoke in the room went ten-fold. The Latin hip-hoppers moved smoothly across the stage in crisp, all-black t-shirt and jeans ensembles, commanding jump-ups from the audience with out-stretched hands.

Sen-Dog and B-Real's voices intertwined with sonic perfection, the former's wheezy exhalation style highlighting the latter's menacing and sharp delivery. The crowd went crazy for each track from Cypress Hill's vast catalog, songs like "When The Shit Goes Down," "Tequila Sunrise" and "Insane In The Brain," seeing success after success of applause and smoke rising.

B-Real stepped up to Bobo's intricate set up of conga drums and cymbals, adding another set of hands to the expert player's signature beats. There are several defining characteristics that have kept Cypress Hill's sound unique, but Bobo's work as a studied percussionist proved excellently played in a live setting.

It wasn't until a third of the way through the set that B-Real informed his high audience that the show was being live-streamed to his own, explaining the camera strapped to Julio G's chest, among other cameras spread throughout the crowd. But the party continued flawlessly, and Julio G rolled out more of Cypress Hill's infectious samples, laying the groundwork for "Hits From the Bong," "Dr. GreenThumb," "Cock The Hammer," Illusions," "Armada Latina" and more.

One of many Black Sunday classics performed throughout the night, "A To The K" provided an abrupt last song to hour-long set. The four gentleman filtered off the stage with no goodbye, only to appear a short time later to drop a song off Cypress Hill's upcoming EP, a collaboration with Dubstep DJ and producer Rusko. "I Ain't Goin' Out Like That" came and went, B-Real using the last few moments on stage to introduce the group that (minus Julio G) had been together since the late '80s. Cypress Hill finished a flawless evening with "Rock Superstar" and the marijuana holiday celebration was brought to a close.


Personal Bias: Teenage me has a soft spot for Cypress Hill, though I'm not one to smoke weed in public.

Random Detail: I hadn't seen Cypress Hill since Lollapalooza '95. Not a thing about the dudes seemed to have changed.

By The Way: It was the first time I witnessed a guy inside a sold-out Ogden Theatre selling knock-off Cypress Hill t-shirts.

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Bree Davies is a multimedia journalist, artist advocate and community organizer born and raised in Denver. Rooted in the world of Do-It-Yourself arts and music, Davies co-founded Titwrench experimental music festival, is host of the local music and comedy show Sounds on 29th on CPT12 Colorado Public Television and is creator and host of the civic and social issue-focused podcast, Hello? Denver? Are You Still There? Her work is centered on a passionate advocacy for all ages, accessible, inclusive, non-commercial and autonomous DIY art spaces and music venues in Denver.
Contact: Bree Davies

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