THE EDITORS OF YOUR HUMBLE STUDENT MAGAZINE HAD THE CHANCE TO GET FREE TICKETS TO SEE THE INTERMINABLE, THE INIMITABLE, THE VIVACIOUS, THE DOWNRIGHT DANGEROUS MR. PEANUT BUTTER WOLF: THE FOUNDER, THE CREATOR, THE INSTIGATOR OF STONES THROW RECORDS. OF JAY DEE DILLA, OF JONWAYNE, OF MADLIB. BUT THEY DIDN’T RECOGNISE THE NAME. THEY. DIDN’T. KNOW. WHO. HE. WAS. GODDAMN.
So with sadness, you have me telling you how the man’s show was two Sundays ago. A Sunday gig is a thing in and of itself to negotiate. Getting out the door at the end of a weekend is an unlikely thing, and once you’re there everyone else is as tired as you are—they don’t really want to be sardined next to you, trying / failing to dance.
On this occasion, however, most everyone was enamored by the presence of a hip-hop legend; a feeling demonstrated as the crowd erupted in the few silences of the hour and a half set. Luckily, no one really cares how you look boppin at a gig like this. I needed this reminder as the set began and continued on a disco / funk / dance bent, as one Diana Ross number, in perfect obscurity, faded into another Prince-esque guitar track. Only a disco aficionado—which I am not—would be able to list the many more tracks played here. PB Wolf was on a mission to highlight those early influences on Grandmaster Flash-era DJs and the burgeoning hip-hop scene of the 80s—an education that fell on the deaf ears of the drunk boys up front.
The night was a one man sideshow at the start of a larger Stones Throw 20th anniversary tour of Australasia with names like J Rocc, Mndsgn, and Egyptian Lover, whose ingenuity continue to make Stones Throw relevant even after the success / death / moving on of the bigger names of the 2000s and early 2010s. Earlybird tickets were a ridiculous $10 (the Stones Throw gig in Melbourne is going for $55) which made for a busy Sunday night at the bar.
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PB Wolf moved initially through said disco and funk, towards outright hip-hop tracks like Big L’s classic “Put it On” and Dilla and Madlib samples—their inclusion obligatory. And I haven’t had tingles down my spine like when Madvillain’s “All Caps” beat hit in like, forever. It is the closest I will get to these artists.
The night felt like it wound down slowly. Of the few words he spoke, Wolf questioned what the fuck we were doing: “Don’t you all have school? Work? Drugs to sell? Y’all are going to have to leave, because I can keep going for hours.” Up until this point I wasn’t sure if he was enjoying himself: he had come on stage and, while he was killing it, he hadn’t said a word. Wanting to play all Sunday night to a crowd at the bottom of the world shows just how gracious PB Wolf is.