Public Enemy titled its latest album "Muse Sick N Hour Mess Age," and the New York rap group's two-hour performance before an adoring audience at the House of Blues on Tuesday revealed the muse is indeed sick, the message a mess. Rappers Chuck D. and Flavor Flav and deejay Terminator X still had the energy that once made them the most compelling force in hard-core rap, but the thrill of their music is gone.
As if still trying to prove the critics wrong--"Muse Sick" was widely panned--Public Enemy performed a set weighted by the new material, opting for a quick medley of some of their best songs. The result was a cacophony of mediocrity, as one song blurred into the next. The highlight was "Fight the Power," one of the greatest songs of the last decade, because it still has the lyrical and aural urgency that was the group's trademark. Unfortunately, it came midway through the performance, leaving the rest of the evening bogged in contradictions and muddy speeches.