Photos – Snoop Dogg at Malkin Bowl, Vancouver, Aug 28 2013
– review by Zoe Christmas/photos by Kirk Chantraine (except where noted)
On Wednesday night, Snoop Dogg a.k.a. Snoop Lion played at Malkin Bowl in Stanley Park. Last year, Snoop famously (or perhaps infamously) transitioned from “Dogg” to “Lion” with the release of his Rasta-reggae album Reincarnated.
While many wondered if Snoop would forever forfeit his title as the D.O. double G., it’s now clear that he’s simply experimenting with a new image. There has been no official tour for Reincarnated, but Snoop has been packing shows in North America, Europe and beyond, giving his fans a taste of his new sound and old hits.
Warming up the crowd was Vancouver’s DJ Physik. To the delight of the crowd, he played bass-y, West Coast gangsta rap including N.W.A., Kendrick Lamar, and E-40.
Following his set, audience members could be heard conjecturing that Snoop would be late and play a short show – he’s had a bad rep for being hours behind schedule this summer. In fact, at his show in Portland the previous night, he arrived two hours late and only played for half an hour, driving fans to demand refunds. I wondered how this would go down, considering Vancouver’s strict nighttime noise laws and Malkin Bowl’s 10 p.m. curfew.
To the crowd’s delight, Snoop – sporting a green Oregon Ducks jersey – strutted on stage at almost exactly 8:45 p.m. to Reincarnated’s “Here Comes the King”. Alongside him was his DJ and a handful of rappers – including Kurupt and Daz Dillinger from the Tha Dogg Pound. They immediately began with “The Shiznit”, an old-school favourite from Snoop’s debut album Doggystyle, followed by Snoop’s verse on 50 Cent’s “P.I.M.P.”
Also gracing the stage were three salacious dancers, Snoop’s Uncle June Bugg (who giddily danced, teased the front row, and was taken off stage with a towel, James Brown style), and an unlimited supply of blunts.
The show bounced between his 20-year-old hits from Doggystyle – such as “Gin and Juice,” “Who Am I (What’s My Name),” and “Ain’t No Fun” – with his and Tha Dogg Pound’s newer songs, including “That’s My Work,” “Who Ride Wit Us”, and “I Wanna Fuck You”. To illustrate the contrast between Snoop’s styles over the last two decades, imagine listening to Katy Perry’s ultra pop tune “California Girls,” then – without warning – flipping to a crass Dogg classic like “Serial Killer”. While the newer tunes stood their ground, the crowd got particularly excited when a Doggystyle favourite was played.
The nonstop back-and-forth between his array of songs kept the crowd rowdy (at least in my section) and appeased the range of pot-smoking fans he has gathered throughout his two-decade, 11-album career. Towards the end, Snoop played a few covers, including “Hypnotize” by the Notorious B.I.G. and “Jump Around” by House of Pain. He teased us by stretching out his last song of the night “Young, Wild and Free”, and played Bob Marley’s “Jammin’” as he exited the stage after an hour-and-ten minute set.
From the perspective of this twenty-something, old-school hip-hop listener, Snoop’s Malkin Bowl show was a tight, well-played set. There were sound issues for a few tunes – particularly extra low-pitched songs like “Drop It Like It’s Hot” – where Snoop’s laid-back vocals drowned in the rumbling bass.
But overall, it was everything a rap-reggae-pop show could and should be. There were no album plugs and hardly any mention of his shift to Snoop Lion, just genuine renditions of his classics and currents. Having seen his very first show billed as Snoop Lion last August at Toronto’s Hoxton, I knew to expect the legendary Snoop – despite his supposed “reincarnation.”
More Snoop Dogg Malkin Bowl photos: