Words by Angelo Gingerelli | Photos by Saidy Lopez
POP-BREAK LIVE: HOUSE OF PAIN AT THE WELLMONT THEATER
“This is the House of Pain. To Come Inside is Insane.” …and a really good time.
House of Pain came to the Wellmont Theater in Montclair, NJ one day after their yearly St. Patrick’s Day extravaganza in Boston and while the band could have easily mailed this one in, the consummate professionals still provided the high energy and Fine Malt Lyrics their Tri-State Area fans have been loving for close to twenty five years.
The biggest misconception about House of Pain is that they are One-Hit-Wonders and their shows consist solely of 90’s party anthem “Jump Around” and while there’s no denying that song is the centerpiece of their live performances they have a pretty extensive catalog to pull from. As a group they released three albums that are all well received when performed live (92’s self titled debut, 94’s Same As It Ever Was and 96’s Truth Crushed To Earth Shall Rise Again), Everlast has an entire solo career as an alternative singer/songwriter (What It’s Like was a huge hit) and they later reformed with underground rappers Slaine and Ill Bill for the beloved (in certain circles) La Coka Nostra projects.
All of these incarnations of the group are on display on their current live show and it provides an incredibly diverse experience for the audience. The setlist was expansive and covered everything from their first album to La Coka Nostra with covers of Johnny Cash and Biz Markie thrown in for good measure. The biggest surprise of the night was Everlast performing GURU’s classic “Just to Get a Rep” verse over the beat to 96’s Fed Up as a tribute to his deceased friend and one-time collaborator.
The stage show includes DJ Lethal on turntables, Danny Boy as hype man, Everlast on vocals (that range from straight rapping to country influenced singing), Brian Velasco on keyboards and Philip “Fish” Fisher (from Fishbone) on drums. This formation allows for increased musicality from the live musicians and some cool arrangements of their classic songs that definitely add something new for fans that have seen them several times.
The show ended in a flury of diversity that perfectly showcased why House of Pain is still selling tickets twenty-four years after they topped the charts. The final 15 minutes of the performance started with the Cypress Hill assisted “Put Your Head Out”, followed immediately by a cover of Johnny Cash’s “Folsom County Blues” (a song Everlast referred to as “the first gangsta rap song”), which segued into Everlast’s blues infused “What It’ Like” and ended with the grand finale of the evening “Jump Around.” To put “Jump Around” live in perspective, think about how crazy it gets when a DJ plays that song (weddings, proms, retirement parties) and then multiply it by a thousand. Mosh pits broke out, drinks were spilled, people rushed the stage, the building shook from thousands of people jumping, it was a fitting end to a great night.