“If they’re already drunk, don’t let ‘em in!” one security guard warned another with wide eyes, as if he’d just dealt with some crazy shit. Leave it to NYC to start partying early. With House of Pain celebrating 25 years of “Jump Around,” not to mention their own Irish heritage on the eve of St. Patrick’s Day, the already-rowdy crowd had plenty of reasons to clink glasses. Then Irving Plaza gave them a few more, offering specialty drinks at the bar dedicated to the long-running hip-hop group. Fans had the Faster Pussycat (cranberry vodka, soda, lime), the Top O’ the Mornin’ to Ya (Bulleit with ginger ale), and the Jump Around (Bud Light with a house shot) to choose from last night. By the looks of most dudes, they’d chosen all three.
But it wasn’t just the liquor getting people revved up. “Happy St. Patrick’s Day y’all, New York whaddUP?” shouted Boston rapper Slaine, who sucked up their energy to fuel his opening set, starting with “Slaine Is Dead.” After a string of fast, polished tracks, among them “Pusher,” “Destroy Everything” and “Knocked Down,” his set was punctuated by a slick “99 Bottles” that got everyone moving. And when someone like Slaine tells you to put your hands up, it doesn’t matter if it’s just after 9; you don’t argue with him. “All my Irish motherfuckers make some nooooise!” he boomed. And the hands went up again.
In what seemed like Irving’s dimmest lighting to date, trying to see House of Pain walk onstage was like trying to catch a glimpse of the moon in a gasoline puddle. But Everlast, Danny Boy, and DJ Lethal, all stars in their solo lives, sounded loud, tough, and clean from the moment they tore into their set. Their synergy was impressive, and you didn’t need to see them to know they were locked right in with each other. DJ Lethal’s mix was truly lethal, and the steady vibration of the bass was one of the few things keeping the inebriated crowd at bay. In a set that covered all the classics, House of Pain got the crowd rapping as loudly as they were, serving up favorites like “Back From the Dead,” “Danny Boy” (featuring a singalong to the original ballad), and “Shamrocks and Shenanigans” right from the start, at the top of their lungs.
“I’m one of the only people really drunk up here, man,” claimed Everlast with a grin, setting a bottle of Jameson on the stage with a thud. “I’ve been drinking all day.” The audience, in similar condition, let out a special kind of howl reserved just for St. Paddy’s. House of Pain kept the spirits high with a fresh cover of “The Next Episode” by Dr. Dre and Snoop D-o-double-g, followed by important songs like “Put On Your Shit Kickers” and “Drink Irish” – plus covers of Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues” and Everlast’s solo hit “What It’s Like.” They of course brought the house down with the famed “Jump Around,” which it’s hard to believe is now 25 years old.
Before the night was through, House of Pain passed on some tough love to the next generation of artists. “A lot of people are down on the young kids, but I’ve got just one thing to say about that,” said Everlast. “If you wanna mumble your way to a million dollars, do it. Go ahead, but that ain’t me. I’m about rapping. And these kids better respect their roots.”
Article: Olivia Isenhart
Photos: Shayne Hanley