Wednesday, March 21 , 2018, 10:27 pm | Overcast 59º


Paul Mann: Hammer Time at the Chumash Casino Resort

Last Thursday found many NBA fans obsessed with the televised final game of the pro basketball season and an exciting photo finish, with the Miami Heat pulling off another victory. While the unfortunate timing for the MC Hammer concert at the Chumash Casino Resort on the same evening may have kept the show from selling out, it did not dampen the enthusiasm of the mostly full house for the dance-crazed concert.

It was most definitively Hammer Time in Santa Ynez during the 90-minute concert featuring the pioneer hip-hop icon, who sold more than 50 million records on the back of his late 1980s and early ‘90s hit songs. He also invented his trademark dancing style and created his own parachute Hammer dancing pants.

The flashy rapper appeared onstage in the Samala Showroom dressed to the nines and ready to perform, fronting a small army of back-up dancers and singers, including his 18-year-old son.

After a few opening songs to warm up the crowd, the gregarious performer moved into the crowd on the showroom floor and worked his way around a good portion of the venue, while singing several songs. By the time he had moved back onstage, he had most of the crowd singing and dancing in the aisles.

After a short break from the stage, the larger-than-life hip-hop legend returned for a multisong encore and invited audience members to crowd around the front of the stage. He even invited the most eager fans to join him onstage, which many did.

Surrounded by a sea of adoring fans, he played a final medley, including his mega hit song “U Can’t Touch This.” A rainbow of music fans swarmed the performer, each taking a turn at their own unique rendition of the early ‘90s Hammer dance.

Impromptu performances, goaded on by Hammer’s back-up dancers, came from audience members in all shapes, sizes and ethnicities. One college-age white man performed a particularly heated dance version, to the praise of Hammer, while an elderly black man captured the imagination of the crowd with his own dance moves toward the end of the song. It was truly a euphoric dance fever for the audience at the MC Hammer show.

The endearing performer lingered long after the performance, posing for photos and signing autographs for eager fans.

Score another unique and interesting night of music for the Chumash Casino Resort in Santa Ynez.

— L. Paul Mann is a Noozhawk contributing writer. The opinions expressed are his own.

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