Next month, Portlanders will get to see hear the music of Wu-Tang Clan the way it was always meant to be heard—as a live score to a martial arts movie about a rebellion against an oppressive regime.
In 2016, RZA, the nominal leader of the legendarily sprawling rap group, started touring a live score to The 36th Chamber of Shaolin, a 1970s movie that follows a martial arts student's decision to take action against his government after a student uprising is violently suppressed. The score is semi-improvised, and mixes Wu-Tang and Wu-Tang-related tracks with vibey hip-hop instrumentals. His stop at the Hollywood Theatre on April 27 will be the tour's first Portland show.
Not only is it an opportunity to watch RZA's favorite martial arts movie with the influential producer himself, it will likely be the smallest venue where you'll ever be able to see him perform.
Wu-Tang's discography—not to mention the rap collective's name—is loaded with martial arts references, including their landmark debut, 1993's Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). But 36th Chamber holds a particularly special place in RZA's heart.
"This film showed me that oppression was worldwide," he told Rolling Stone last year. "Here I am seeing the Manchurians oppressed, and it was a bunch of college kids standing up, trying to get involved with the revolution, risking their lives, destroying the school, and then this kid now has to find a way to get revenge to uplift the people."
Tickets for the Hollywood Theatre show go on sale Tuesday, April 2.