Exclusive: Rock The Bells 2009 Opener in Chicago

Posted 7 years ago by
Download DJBooth's new App, The PLUG Tinley Park, IL -- The official start of summer for children is the end of the school year.  For those who are several years removed from the days of test-taking and homework, the official start of summer might be Memorial Day, whenever the weather gets nice, or simply after the first major concert of the warm-weather season is attended.  Whatever the case may be for you, officially kicked off its summer on Saturday, when Rock The Bells opened at The First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre in Tinley Park, Illinois. 

Since its inception in the summer of 2003, Rock The Bells has been a rite of passage for summer concertgoers in need of a live hip-hop fix.  In past years, headliners have included reunited groups Wu-Tang Clan and A Tribe Called Quest.  For the tour’s 2009 incarnation, headliners included The Roots, Busta Rhymes, and Nas with Damian “Jr Gong” Marley, who performed together for the first time since wrapping up their forthcoming joint album, Distant Relatives.


Most concertgoers whom we spoke with at the festival were impressed with main stage acts Reflection Eternal (Talib Kweli and Hi-Tek), who spit an impressive freestyle over Kanye’s “Get Em High,” Big Boi, who emptied out the Outkast vault with hit after hit, Tech N9ne, who brings more energy to his live performance than nearly everyone’s favorite rapper, and K’naan, whose current album, Troubadour, was meant to be performed live. The real buzz, however, disseminated from the impressive lineup on the second stage, Paid Dues.

Slaughterhouse (L to R: Joe Budden, Royce Da 5'9", Joell Ortiz, Crooked I)

Headlined by Wu-Tang members and crowd favorites GZA and Raekwon, the second stage also featured impressive performances by Slaughterhouse (Joe Budden, Royce Da 5”9, Joell Ortiz and Crooked I), Buckshot (with special guests KRS-One and Kidz In The Hall), Tabi Bonney, M.O.P. and Mickey Factz.  Unlike the main stage, which was behind-schedule the whole afternoon (several sets had to be abbreviated as a result), the Paid Dues stage packed a mean punch, delivering hi-octane acts from start to finish.

(L to R) Buckshot, KRS-One

For those looking to truly kick off their summer, we recommend attending Rock The Bells 2009 on one of its remaining nine stops across North America. For those who are strapped for cash or simply live too far from the hosting cities to attend, thanks to our friends at Guerilla Union and MSO, will be featuring behind-the-scenes footage from the festival.  Throughout the week, we will showcase video interviews with Big Boi, Slaughterhouse, K’naan, Buckshot, Tech N9ne with Krizz Kaliko, Tabi Bonney, The Knux, and B. Dolan

That's the thing about hip-hop… it just keeps giving. 


Mickey Factz

Tabi Bonney

Raekwon   Big Boi   K'NAAN   Concerts

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