Trice bellies up to the bar with a solid set

Special to The Times

About 10 minutes into his hourlong set at the House of Blues on Wednesday, Eminem protege Obie Trice needed a drink. But rather than grab a bottle of water, the Detroit rapper hoisted a bottle of Courvoisier (his tour's sponsor) as the theme music for the television show "Cheers" played in the background. The crowd roared as Trice, whose debut album also is titled "Cheers," took a few swigs.

It was a fitting interlude for the rapper, whose stage set was a tavern replica, complete with stools, bar and drinking buddies. But Trice didn't let the alcohol impair his ability to deliver a solid, deliberate set that included lively audience interaction during the underground favorite "Oh!" and a guest appearance by Xzibit on the hit single "Got Some Teeth."

Trice is a calculated performer who focuses his intensity on muscular raps, but the evening's other act, Nappy Roots, favors a wild style.

The six Kentuckians stormed the stage to the title track of their spectacular second album, "Wooden Leather." Many rappers, including Trice, give off a confrontational vibe, but some of Nappy Roots' appeal comes from its warm, inviting characters, who were on full display during the supercharged, 40-minute show. Each group member was full of smiles during the 10-song set, which was typified by such feel-good singles as "Awnaw" and "Roun' the Globe."

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