On Thurs., Jan. 24, 2002, the band that proclaims to be “Orange County's finest, ” (Hed)p.e., ripped up the stage at The Key Club in Hollywood. The boys were in fine form, and despite years of touring under their belt, had not lost any of the enthusiasm and energy that has made their live shows a must-see experience. The crowd was definitely feeling the music, and displayed just as much energy as the band, despite the fact it was a Thursday night and, as frontman Jahred put it, “only strippers and drug dealers have the day off tomorrow.” It was a night of heavy music and aggressive pitting, all under the veil of a marijuana cloud that covered the club throughout the band's set.
Before (Hed)p.e. did their thing, three bands had to warm up the stage. First up was The Almighty Grind, whose bass-heavy rap-metal style knocked some of the black paint off of the club's walls. Both of the band's lead rappers put it down tight, with more high-fives than Game 7 of the World Series. Next was KLeen, who could only be described as an 80's revival punk alterna-goth rock band. Included in the set was their feel good song “Good Times,” which I particularly enjoyed. Finally, straight from the LBC came Droid. These guys managed to pull off another one of their excellent shows, and kept the audience's adrenaline pumping all the way until their final tune.
Soon after Droid departed the stage, (Hed)p.e. made their appearance among a surge of screams and hollers from fans. Jahred had four layers of clothes on, which he slowly stripped away at throughout the night. Most of the songs were off of the band's sophomore outing, Broke, including “Waiting to Die,” “Feel Good” (sans Morgan Lander and Serj Tankian), “Crazy Legs,” “I Got You,” “Swan Dive,” and their ever-so-beautiful ballad “The Meadow.” Unfortunately, the band did not play many songs from their debut self-titled CD. However, they did play a handful of songs from their upcoming album, most of which were about such classic (Hed)p.e. themes as drinking whiskey and smoking pot. The new record promises to be just as hard, although possibly not as creative, as their last two critically acclaimed releases.
One of the highlights of the night was when Korn bassist Fieldy popped up on stage to give (Hed)p.e. props, not to mention promote his forthcoming rap album, Rock N Roll Gangster. Once Fieldy exited the stage, Jahred profoundly announced, “That shit is worth an Escalade in the driveway.” The frontman seemed to have a newfound air of pompousness I had never seen before. In the middle of the set, when he felt the audience wasn't quite giving 100%, he boldly stated, “We already got paid …so we can just stop now.” He later said he was just kidding, but the largely hometown crowd still seemed a bit taken back by the arrogant statement.
During the show, Jahred gave his usual shout-outs to System of a Down, Slipknot, and the late Lynn Strait, whose band Snot had appeared with (Hed)p.e. the last time they played The Key Club. He also made several pleas for any “18-19 year old girl from Orange County” to give him a ride home. “I don't want any sex,” he explained,” I just want to make-out.” I'm still not sure if Jahred ever found a girl to take him home, but judging by the look on the faces of many of the females in the audience as the band performed their impressive set, I don't think `ol Jah had any problems finding a ride that night.