Snoop Dogg is a master party performer -- which is to say that his cool is contagious. For the duration of his hour-plus set Sunday evening,
the fenced-off parking lot behind Roxy's Pub looked like a sweaty impersonation of
a gangsta rap video. A decent-sized crowd of skin-baring Labor Day celebrators including hipsters, wannabes, squares, and O.G.'s alike had
their hands in the air or on each other as their lower halves thrusted and
pumped like they had just been freed from booty jail.
After the Spazmatics' new wave opening act, Snoop's peeps got on stage. All night,
multiple indoor rooms acted as dance-party space, but they remained
mostly deserted. The sound of this segment, as heard from the street (a break for a few cups of gin and juice), can be summed up as mediocre hip-hop songs sandwiched between alternating bouts of hype-the-crowd chants: "Doggystyle Records is in the building!" and "[your weed] smells good!" Eventually, epic orchestral music blasted from the speakers, signaling the entrance of the Dogg.
Snoop hit the stage wearing a baggy T-shirt, jeans, and megabling as the beat for Dr. Dre's resurgence hit "Next Episode" pumped from the speakers. The crowd matched his moves as he bobbed and swayed while greeting them with his well-known verse from the song ("La di da di da/It's the mothafuckin' d-o-double-g"). Following close behind the opener was the old-school fave "Gin and Juice," which he introduced as a great song to "get fucked up to" and another new-er school hit "P.I.M.P.," of 50 Cent fame. The whole set was an exercise in time travel, as he spanned his whole career (including the more recent, Auto-Tuned R&B ballad "Sensual Seduction").
Once Snoop finished with the classic "Who Am I? (What's My Name?)," the Disco Infiltrator (AKA New Times contributor Evan Rowe) and your County Grind correspondent hit the dance floor upstairs for a while with the weirdest moves we could muster up before wandering up to the third floor -- a barn-themed area where SoFla reggae favorites Fourth Dimension were playing. Though the band was sounding great, the peeps were scarce and the party seemed to be over. We split after a few minutes to hit the trunk and move on with our Labor Day.
Better than: Winning a contest for backstage passes and not getting them, I guess.
Personal bias: I've been down with Snoop for a good while. I've known every word on Doggystyle since I was 13, which was long before I knew what most of the words meant.
Random detail: We got a kick out of this encounter that we had on the way in with a big, bald, drunk dude:
BBDD: You here to see Snoop?
Me: I'm here to see Snoopy.
BBDD: Where's he playin' at?
Me: Where's my brain at?
Me: The ladies room.
Me: He's playing in the ladies room.
By the way: One could see and hear the show almost as well from the street as from
inside the gate. At any given time, there were 30 or more people enjoying
the free version.