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Ah, Grammy week. Thousands of music industry folks descend on Los Angeles, organize fabulous parties and all-star concert jams, and then spend the next three to four days sitting in traffic trying to get to them. Also, there are awards handed out at some point. Monday night was chock-full of exciting entertainment opportunities, including the Black Eyed Peas, a MusicCares benefit honoring James Taylor, and some sort of Kanye West something-or-another that featured Foreigner offspring Samantha Ronson as the DJ.

All of that was skipped for two very important reasons:

1. Fall Out Boy
2. The Fugees

Yes! The Fugees! Remember them? In 1996, they put out a hip-hop album so good, even I bought it, and in 1996 I was still listening mostly to the Indigo Girls! The Fugees! The press release promised a crowd of 8,000 people rocking out to the refugee sound right smack in the middle of Hollywood and Vine, “the world’s most famous intersection” (pictured). This was not to be missed.

addCredit(“The Fugees: John Sciulli/WireImage.com”)

In retrospect, I probably could have missed it (or at least opening act3 on 3, the boy band Wyclef is currently aiding and abetting). WhenWyclef himself walked out to freestyle as a warm-up, you could feelanticipation ripple through the crowd like a bass beat through water,and when he brought out the other two-thirds of the group, the placewent nuts. Hands went up when they kicked into “How Many Mics” — andthen hands went down. Bad news: The once-tight ensemble is nowovercompensating by just being really loud. Most depressing was LaurynHill’s voice: Her solo on “Zealots” and even her la-la’s on “Fu-Gee-La”were throaty and forced — in no way resembling the hypnotically clearsound that made her famous in the first place. I bolted after about sixsongs. There were about 2,000 people there when I left, and to be fair,several of them seemed to be having a good time. Plus, I have no ideawhat happened later on. It might have gotten better, or L-Boogie mighthave passed out. Could go either way.

But no looking back! I was off to the House of Blues, where Fall OutBoy were playing an Entertainment Weekly-sponsored gig that I was goingto see if I had to drive over the traffic on Sunset in my Ford Focus toget there. The show was everything the Fugees wasn’t: focused,engaging, and all-around kickass, with people from 11 to 60 jumping upand down and singing every word. The boys ran through most of FromUnder the Cork Tree and several songs off their pre-fame debut, lookingfor all the world like they still can’t believe this is their life.“Nobody Puts Baby in the Corner” and “Our Lawyer…” were highlights,but they played “Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down”—which, according to PeteWentz, is about “the sex you have with yourself,” in case you stillcan’t understand the lyrics—way too early, and way not enough. It’s myringtone, okay? If U2 can open and close with “Elevation,” FOB can play“Sugar” at least three times.

Tonight: The Roots Jam, which last year featured Jada Pinkett Smith’s heavy metal band. Can’t wait.

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