Music » Critics' Picks

The Roots, with 311

Wednesday, June 30; UMB Bank Pavilion

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Philly rap demigods the Roots established themselves long ago as the most exciting live hip-hop group around. It was only recently, with 2002's Phrenology, that the group made an album that could even hold a candle to the energy and propulsive beats that drummer ?uestlove (he of the massive Afro) and the rest of the band put out onstage. Even then, the monster single "The Seed (2.0)" failed to become the mega-platinum smash that it deserved to be. This might explain why the Roots can only play the UMB Bank Pavilion by opening for the stoner white boys of 311.

But who knows? The Roots may not sound much like OutKast, but they share a love of boundary-pushing songs that don't alienate the more timid mainstream listeners. So the new Roots album, The Tipping Point (out in July), could in fact become the tipping point for this band that has walked along the edge of superstardom for so long.

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