This Friday, July 18 at the Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago (which I’ll be covering for IFC.com), seminal political-hip-hop group Public Enemy will be performing It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back in its entirety. This performance is in conjunction with All Tomorrow’s Parties, the London-based promoters that came up with the genius idea a few years ago to have bands perform their landmark albums from start to finish.
Since performances put on by All Tomorrow’s Parties have been mostly an overseas treat, this will be my first chance to witness one live. And because It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back is a hip-hop masterpiece and Public Enemy is one of my favorite musical acts of all time (yes children, years before Flavor Flav became a reality show regular, P.E. was one of the most important musical acts on the planet), I’m very curious as to how everything will play out. Here are some burning questions, which I’m sure will be answered this Friday night:
Will Public Enemy perform with a full band (as they’ve been doing the last handful of years)? If so, will they be able to recreate all the sounds and samples that made ‘It Takes a Nation’ so spectacular?
Or will P.E. just perform old school, with a pair of turntables?
Speaking of turntables, will Terminator X come out of retirement and man the wheels of steel for Public Enemy? The track “Terminator X to the Edge of Panic,” kind of needs him, don’t you think?
Will P.E. perform the various interludes from the album?
During the beginning of “Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos” will Flavor Flav stay consistent with the album by saying, “Bass for your face London,” or will we simply shout out Chicago?
Which version of “Bring the Noise” will Public Enemy perform? The version appearing on ‘It Takes a Nation’ or the Anthrax-inspired version that appears on ‘Apocalypse ’91’?
Will P.E. play song after song, or will Flavor Flav be permitted to give extraneous stage banter about his various reality show projects?