The Roots at Red Bull Soundclash in Scottsdale, Arizona Scott Stuk/Red Bull Photofiles

On a chilly night in Arizona under a full moon, more than 1,500 music lovers crowded the streets outside of American Junkie in Scottsdale to experience Red Bull Soundclash. The show was one of the hottest tickets in town, and the line stretched down the block with fans eagerly awaiting entry.

The event featured The Roots and Miniature Tigers on opposing stages with the animated audience sandwiched between them in prime position to take in the back-and-forth collaborative performance. 

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Host Akrobatik oversaw the “musical conversation” between the two artists as The Roots and Miniature Tigers performed various musical challenges, both rehearsed and improvised, showcasing their musical abilities. This “exercise in musicianship” - as Questlove of The Roots described it - gave the audience an opportunity to get a more intimate musical experience than possible through a regular tour-based performance. Red Bull Soundclash Arizona’s unique musical format included the following rounds:

Round 1 – The Cover: The first round featured both bands covering the same song with their own personal style; the crowd was treated to each band’s unique spin on Jimi Hendrix’s “Fire.” The Roots turned the song into a funky slow groove while the Miniature Tigers gave the classic rock song a dream-pop vibe.

Round 2 – The Takeover: This innovative round showcased a true collaboration between the two artists. Each was tasked with finishing the second half of a song started by the opposing band. The Roots’ song “Dear God” kicked off the round, which was followed by Miniature Tigers’ “Lolita,” then The Roots’ “You Got Me,” and finally the round finished off with Miniature Tigers’ “Rock n’ Roll Mountain Troll.”

Round 3 – The Clash: The third round highlighted the artists’ musical versatility by charging them with performing their songs in three different styles – punk, disco and ska. 

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Round 4 – The Wildcard: In the fourth and final round each band invited a special guest or guests to perform with them on stage. Miniature Tigers called on the 15-piece Pride of Arizona Drumline and local Phoenix emcee AB Dollaz for their final song and hit single “Gold Skull.” The Roots brought up legendary Fishbone front man Angelo Moore, who proved he hasn’t lost his step as he sang, danced, and cart-wheeled on the stage, driving the crowd into a fanatic frenzy on Curtis Mayfield’s “Freddie’s Dead.”

The night ended on a high note with Miniature Tigers and Archie joining The Roots on stage for a 10+ minute jam, complete with “spontaneously choreographed” dances. The audience left knowing that they had witnessed a musical performance unlike anything they had seen before.

 

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