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Monday, March 14, 2011

Saturday Night: Bone Thugs-n-Harmony Turn Yoshi's Into the Bone Thugs Club

Posted By on Mon, Mar 14, 2011 at 9:12 AM

click to enlarge Bone Thugs-n-Harmony at Yoshi's. - TAMARA PALMER
  • Tamara Palmer
  • Bone Thugs-n-Harmony at Yoshi's.
Bone Thugs-n-Harmony 
March 12, 2011 

Better than: Partying with tuneless gangsters.

Yes, Thugs is part of this Ohio-born, multi-platinum selling group's name, but make no mistake: This is one of the most emotional acts in rap music. Don't get it twisted: They're surely not soft, but Eazy E's proteges have sampled Fleetwood Mac and Phil Collins, and collaborated with Mariah Carey. Just sayin'.

Backed with a live band that included an outrageously good trumpet player and Lynette aka "Hammondgal" on keys (we recognized the latter as one of the actual musical highlights from Diddy's failed reality show Making His Band), Bone Thugs-n-Harmony offered a set with more vibrant moments than the average DJ-backed rap show Saturday night at Yoshi's.

Though the members reunited with estranged member Bizzy Bone on most recent album Uni5: The World's Enemy, he sadly wasn't present for either of the night's two performances, and isn't on this tour due to reported money disputes. Fortunately, the remaining four Thugs still have a tight chemistry.


It was nice to see Flesh-n-Bone on stage, since he was incarcerated from 2000-2008 for a probation violation and an assault with a deadly weapon charge -- though he tended to play the back. By contrast, Wish Bone had the most energy and ability to hype up the crowd. Krayzie Bone rocked the most musical voice, anchoring old hits like "1st of Tha Month" and newer tunes like "I Tried So Hard" with a mellifluous bass tone. Layzie Bone, his hair now shorn from its memorable Afro, acted as the smoking heartthrob -- and by smoking, we mean he took the lead on lighting the group's endless schwaggy (we could smell 'em) blunts on stage.

In an interlude the group called the "Bone Thugs Club," about 30 women were invited up on stage to shake it to a quick DJ-spun medley of hits from those who had passed: Eazy E ("Boyz-N-Da-Hood"), Notorious B.I.G. ("Juicy"), and Tupac Shakur ("Hail Mary," "California Love," "How Do U Want It"). We would have preferred to hear more of the group's songs, but it sure was funny to watch a number of white and Asian girls on stage doing their best thug life impression to Tupac.

Shortly after the group went back into its own work, we heard a Thug say to the crowd, incredulously, "Is one of y'all fighting?"

At first, he joked. "I like that. Choke a nigga!"

But then, it got more serious, and security was called. We soon saw a man, head down and blood leaking out of the side of his face, get quickly pushed out of the room by staff.

"Hey!" exclaimed our friend. "That's the dude who was trying to sell me coke outside!"

"People gotta learn to calm the fuck down and smoke a buddha," said another Thug, and the group launched into its song "Smoking Buddha" in a clever ploy to calm the crowd down. By then, a bunch of ladies had fled the already loose dancefloor and would miss the Thugs' biggest anthems, the debut single "Thuggish Ruggish Bone" and "Tha Crossroads," the latter dedicated to Eazy E.


Critic's Notebook

Personal bias: Been trying to perfect the female vocals in "Thuggish Ruggish Bone" since 1994.

Random detail: The merch table was full of fun shirts to ponder; we considered the purchase of one that said, "Never Keep My Enemies Close 'Cause I Got a Perfect View of 'Em in My Scope."

By the way: We thought it was a little weird that someone representing the band was selling raffle tickets to get a chance to hang out with the Thugs later.

Follow us on Twitter @SFAllShookDown, follow Tamara Palmer @teemoney415, and like us at Facebook.com/SFAllShookDown.

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Tamara Palmer

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