Updated: Nov 14, 2018
When I heard Newcleus was headlining the Old School Throw Back Jam in Portland, Oregon earlier this month, I knew I had to make the 3 hour train ride south to see the Electro pioneers and Hip Hop legends. The Old School Throw Back Jam featured eight old school Hip Hop and Freestyle groups like Newcleus, Expose, JJ Fad, 69 Boyz and others. I talked to two of my friends, both old school Newcleus fans, and we made the arrangements to make an overnight to Portland.
The US trains travel about as fast as a Dubstep plate on a low pitch however, so we barely made it to our seats on the floor in time. We hurried up to section A, Row 6 on the isle about ten minutes before the show started. Just as we were getting settled, the announcer spoke the words after the lights went down in the Theater of the Clouds: “Are You ready to hear Newcleus?!”. The crowd went wild when the sounds of the Newcleus ship coming to Earth filled the arena.
First up: Jam On Revenge. The bassline didn’t disappoint that close to the stage, and it was officially Jam On time when “Wikki Wikki Wikki” filled the air. Everyone knew Cozmo was in the house for sure, when his infectious laugh sparked the atmosphere followed by the announcement “Oh no, it’s Cozmo". The Jam On Revenge hook crescendoed and settled in like an old friend that you hadn’t seen since the 80’s, who stopped by to have a pint. The bass kicked, and the Wikki’s wikkied and we were all right there with Newcleus when Cozmo ordered “Hey check this out”. Lady E and Al T. worked the crowd right into the next tune, an Old School Electro classic that put the computer as a pillar of Electro music when it was first released in 1984.
Oh no, it's Cozmo! © Brent Angelo Photography
Computer Age could have been written yesterday. Its futuristic sounds and funky bassline pulled the arena into a dimension of computer peril and predictions, while Al T. wanted to know “Where all the B-Boys were”. Cozmo D on the vocoder asking the question “Are they under our control?” brought that Electro vibe to the forefront of the first ever Old School Throw Back Jam in Portland. Al T. baritones the opening freestyle, written thirty-five years ago, that closely predicted some of the impacts computers would have on our lives. I couldn’t help agreeing with the sentiment in those lyrics: “The computer age is now, everyone must have a machine”, as I looked around and saw all the screens pointing toward the stage. But, that little burst back into the real world didn’t last long, when the 4 quarter notes on the low end of the keyboard hit our row...it was “Jam On It” time!
What can I say about Jam on It. The classic Hip Hop tune hit the charts in summer 1984, and stayed on the charts for 15 weeks. The flows are classic and long, complete with Cozmo’s Superman rap that introduced the world to Disco Kryptonite. That Friday night in Portland, Al T. laid down the unforgettable line telling us about his mom buying him two turntables and mic when he was just a baby boy, while Lady E’s soothing vocals punctuated the percussions. Cozmo D recounted his epic battle with Superman on the turntables and before we knew it, the Newcleus ship was taking off, leaving us Earthlings here on the third planet wondering when Newcleus would be back to the Northwest.
To find out more about Newcleus and what they are up to in 2018, check out their website.