B.E.P. and N.E.R.D.

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Apr 072004
 
Authors: Gabriel Dance, Nicole Davis

It was a night of acronyms, as B.E.P., also known as the Black

Eyed Peas, and N.E.R.D, a group composed of hip-hop gurus The

Neptunes, performed at the Fillmore Auditorium in Denver Sunday

night.

B.E.P. took the stage first, a surprise for many audience

members who may have been expecting them to headline the event.

However, despite the fact that they weren’t saved for last, they

were definitely the best. B.E.P. proved they have an incredible

onstage chemistry and it clearly translated to the audience. The

energy in the audience was palatable.

Part of this may be due to the addition of Stacy Ann Fergusen,

known to fans as Fergie, whose addition has given the group a whole

new sound. Even though her vocal talent is evident on the group’s

newest album “Elephunk,” in person, her voice literally blows you

away. However, many longtime B.E.P. fans objected to Fergie’s

addition to group, but after seeing the show no one could deny it

was an excellent decision.

The Black Eyed Peas have always created some of their best work

with female vocalists, the most notable of which is “Request Line,”

an under-played song that should have been a hit and featured Macy

Gray. Now with the permanent addition of female powerhouse Fergie,

the group has obviously found its ideal sound and audiences have

found one of the best hip-hop groups around.

However, clearly what mattered most to the audience and B.E.P.

was the music. While hits off their new album such as “Shut Up,”

and “Let’s Get Retarded” got a huge audience response, what was

more surprising was how well-received the freestyle interlude was.

What can sometimes become a tedious experience, especially for

people who bought tickets to hear songs off the radio, became one

of the show’s high points.

In fact, the Black Eyed Peas put on such a good show that we

didn’t even notice until they actually started singing it that they

hadn’t played their biggest hit “Where is the Love?” Clearly the

love was at the Fillmore Sunday.

After B.E.P. did such a good job of hyping up the crowd,

N.E.R.D. fell a little below expectations.

If you came to the N.E.R.D. show expecting to catch Pharrell

Williams or Chad Hugo in their well-known roles laying beats like

they have for record breakers such as Jay-Z, Usher and Justin

Timberlake, you must have left sorely disappointed. If you came

with knowledge of the group’s previous work and an idea of what you

were in for, you were impressed with the show, which for some

reason was not attended by Chad Hugo. Bummer on the no-go with

Hugo, but thumbs up to both Williams and Shay, the other two-thirds

of N.E.R.D., on a pretty impressive show.

Williams and Hugo have both come to the forefront of the pop

music scene recently with their group The Neptunes’ involvement in

many popular acts. N.E.R.D. (an acronym for No One Ever Really

Dies) is the duo with a third, Shay, in what the group calls “the

offspring of the Neptunes id, a fly-or-die, thrash-around,

do-as-you-will, set-your-soul-on-fire alter-ego” on its Web

site.

We’re not sure if all of those qualities were present Sunday

night at the Fillmore in Denver, but the band did put on a fine

display of musical ability with Williams being the show’s

focus.

Make no mistakes people, Williams is a singer, and a pretty good

one at that. And Shay is no bust when it comes to his hip-hop

talents either. With a back-up band that rocked and a crowd that

did the same, the show came together pretty well with highlights

including the group’s current hit “She Likes to Move” as well as

previous-album highlight “Rockstar.”

There were a couple of things that probably could have improved

the show. Had Williams not encouraged the crowd to sing so many of

the lyrics it would have been easier to enjoy him singing the high

hooks. Also, the drums seemed to overpower a lot of the mid- and

high-range levels.

Overall though, it looks like N.E.R.D. has a bright future and

an already impressive past. And presently they’re deservedly one of

the hottest groups on the scene.

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