Music » Critics' Picks

Jurassic 5 (opening for the Dave Matthews Band)

Wednesday, June 1; UMB Bank Pavilion (14141 Riverport Drive, Maryland Heights)

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When the Jurassic 5 released its head-bobbing positive hip-hop manifesto Quality Control in 2000, it was an instant summer-barbecue classic, offering up brilliant cuts, infectious beats, masterful flow and a good-natured sense of humor -- all in equal measure.

2002 brought Power in Numbers, which, though it didn't sell quite as well, capitalized on the technical mastery and tongue-twisting verbal acumen of the group. The album proved challenging and complex, yet accessible and enjoyable enough for mainstream hip-hop audiences.

In the three years following Power, the group's awe-inspiring turntable artist Cut Chemist (a.k.a. Lucas McFadden) has been busy producing and laying down beats for Latin funk-and-junk crew Ozomatli and recording a solo album for Warner Brothers; fellow J5 DJ NuMark just released a new album, Blend Crafters; and booming-voiced MC Chali 2na recently tried his hand at a mixtape entitled Fish Market. When the members of the six-man crew (4 MC's, 2 DJ's) aren't proving their near-iconic status among hip-hop heads as solo artists, they tour mercilessly as a unit, and this year's summer-festival appearances will include a stop at the Bonaroo free-for-all.

Yet for all of J5's work, there's been no sign of a new album -- not so much as a release date. Solo efforts are fine and dandy, and a live arena performance from these guys promises to be a real gem (particularly if you can ignore that pesky Dave Matthews), but it's damn near time for another full-length from Jurassic Five. Few crews have the sheer volume of talent they possess (maybe Wu Tang Clan), and even fewer possess such a devoted and varied following. Get back to the studio! After you're done here, of course.

Show at 7 p.m. Tickets are $39-$56.50; call 314-298-9944 for more information.

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