- Fight for your right to party with Beastie Boys tribute band Grand Royale on the main stage at Summer Fest this Friday
If you fall between a certain age range, odds are you have the Beastie Boys in your blood. The hip-hop trio broke boundaries and created a party sound all their own. After original Beastie Adam "MCA" Yauch passed away from cancer, Portland-based MC Justin "Mike Double D" Enger and his crew of hip-hop musicians decided they needed to get after creating a Beastie Boys tribute band in order to honor the original group and give the music the justice it deserves. Enger booked three shows for Grand Royale before the group had even rehearsed together.
"My very first cassette tape ever was 'Licensed to Ill,'" Enger recalls. "What we love about the Beastie Boys, part of it is the intricate back and forth. The fact that we've been super fans for this long. It's hard to pin point everything we love. We're all conscious-minded, and the fact that they were was a big factor as well."
Grand Royale performs with the three Beastie Boys MC roles, as well as a full band. Performances typically consist of eight members on stage.
Before stepping into the role of Mike D, Enger had been rapping for many years. He says he knew "pretty much all the lyrics" before jumping into Mike D's shoes.
"I had to practice the cadence and rhythm exactly and get it to sound like the album. For me, I had to get more nasal. My actual, normal rapping voice isn't as high as Mike D's. Kirby who plays MCA, or MCInk, he had to put a little more work into it. Sometimes he'll even smoke a couple extra cigarettes to give it that gruff sound before hitting the stage."
Within the group, every member has a project of original music. The bass player makes his rounds and performs with four different bands, in fact.
"We all come from that vein of performing our own original stuff, but it's also awesome to play to a crowd with a built-in fan base. Everyone knows the words to the songs," Enger says.
Many people never got the chance to see the original Beasties live, so Enger says the biggest compliment they get is that after seeing Grand Royale, people say they felt like they finally got their chance.
Enger says almost unanimously the band's favorite song to perform is "Shadrach," which first appeared on the "Paul's Boutique" album. They even sound check with the song most of the time. Fan favorites include "Fight For Your Right," "No Sleep Till Brooklyn" and "Sabotage"—fan favorites for the original Beasties, too.
"I think that big thing is that we're all live," Enger says of what sets them apart from other Beastie Boy tribute bands." There are a few out there nationally, one out of Dallas, amazing performers, but a lot of time it's a DJ. With being an all-live band, we can take different chances and take different liberties with the songs and I think that's the big thing that separates us."
Fri., July 13. 9:15pm
Bend Summer Fest