SALT-N-PEPA @ GOTHIC THEATRE | 12/17/11
Salt-N-Pepa brought the noise last night at The Gothic Theatre for Jammin' 101.5's 'Twas the Jam Before Christmas. The house was packed, and both Salt and Pepa looked amazing in bedazzled outfits and gold rope chains. The two took us down hip-hop memory lane with big smiles, old-school dances and rap precision. In a word, it was inspiring.
Being led onto the stage by two spry young men who were both poppin' and lockin', Salt-N-Pepa came out to roaring applause from the crowd and went directly into "Shake Your Thing" with tepid choreography that was more spirit than anything else. The strife between the two is well documented (Salt even made reference to she and Pep "working through our issues"), yet on stage, the pair's chemistry was unmistakable.
Salt, the facilitator, talked the crowd through each song, encouraging a call-and-response to "Expression," "I'll Take Your Man" and "Everybody Get Up." Pepa put her relationship with Naughty by Nature's Treach to good use, testing the crowd's "hip-hop knowledge" with excerpts from "Hip Hop Hooray." Two ladies who rocked matching Salt-N-Pepa jackets a la the "Push It" video were brought up on stage for posing and b-girl stances. It was a cute moment of hip-hop girl fandom.
The duo's DJ, Dee Wiz, rocked a gold rope chain of his own and kept the energy high through his musical banter with Salt-N-Pepa. By the time the act got to "Let's Talk About Sex," the sound in the room was at full-on roar, and people were dancing themselves into a frenzy. "Shoop" had this same effect.
"Whatta Man" prompted a cute moment from Salt, who brought out her husband of twenty years, while she rapped her verse to the track. The scene was a long way from the imagery of her in bed with Tupac from the video, and this was the "hip-hop is growing old gracefully" turning point in the show. For her part, Pep brought up two excited and blushing gentlemen from the audience.
Salt-N-Pepa took a chunk of time out of the show to "vibe with the crowd because music is so beautiful," as Salt put it. Dee Wiz then played a music set that included everything from Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" to several bubblegum pop tracks. The DJ set went long, making us wonder if this was a way to preserve material and burn time in the performance. Either way, the ladies of the hour facilitated the mayhem and folks loved it.
The height of the show was, of course, "Push It," and there was barely a need for SNP to say one word; the crowd screamed, yelled and screeched the lyrics with such fervor, the floor of the Gothic was shaking, a good look overall for Salt-N-Pepa who brought so much to hip-hop in its inception and all these years later selling out a venue packed with screaming fans.
Earlier in the evening, Wheelchair Sports Camp performed a set that included a track from Pretty Lights and a thick gold rope chain rocking front woman, Kalyn Heffernan. From the looks of it, the band effectively warmed up the crowd for its headlining act.
Personal Bias: Every hip-hop girl pretended to be Salt, Pepa or both at some point. Pep was always my favorite. By the Way: If you were wondering, they still got it. Random Detail: I wish Spinderella was there.
Follow Backbeat on Twitter: @westword_music
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.