DJ SHADOW at THEBARTON THEATRE - 31/07/2006
aaaaaah.. witness the rarefied horror that is the MONDAY NIGHT gig! usually this is the last night in the week that you'll ever find me out at yet another live venue for the sake of this retarded website.. since after all the ridiculous hours I spend on the Sunday well into the ugly hours of dawn to get a weekend published (anywhere from 12 to 16 hours straight depending on the hangover) I usually like to consider the Monday my "Sunday" and chill the fuck out of here.. as I seek some much needed detox from this crazy "touring" lifestyle I inflict upon myself each week for the sake of providing entertainment for YOU idiots (it's a hard life, but hey, someone's gotta be stupid enough do it ;)
yup, it'd take one helluva good reason to drag me out on a MONDAY NIGHT.. but hey, how could I refuse DJ SHADOW at the THEBARTON THEATRE? the turntabilist ninja from SAN FRANCISCO world reknowned for his cinematic, brooding and upliftingly eerie hiphop soundscapes? seriously, if you've never heard of this dude.. hunt up his cult classic 1996 release "ENTRODUCING" - a freakin' audial masterpiece of schitzoid vinyl cutups, chunky stadium sized rolling breaks and trainspotting samplist psychedelia.. it's like the filmscore to the coolest fucking movie never written.. go get it, it'll fucken melt yer brain ;)
anyhoo.. upon walking in at 8:30PM I spot the support band for tonight, BEAT SMUGGLAZ, forming a single file line up on stage, as they're crammed into the tiny strip of real estate in front of the curtains (obviously to make room for wot'ever crazyarse ensemble of shit DJ SHADOW has got running tonight) and sure, they may be banging out one helluva cool ragga MC flowing mix of chunky live instrumental hiphop and stoner junglist beat rolls.. but, since they're the support act tonight, and fuckit.. it's a MONDAY.. I don't really take any photo's of them worth publishing..
but hey, look at all the lighting on the speaker stacks.. woooooooo, so shiny! :)
BEAT SMUGGLAZ play for about 1/2 an hour to a mostly ambivalent audience and leave with a mild applause as the slowly building crowd fills the venue with hazy green smoke and wait in chattering anticipation for the main act.. and after 20 minutes or so, the curtains finally part to reveal a bank of video screens split in the middle by DJ decks, tweaky fx units and computer equipment on a raised platform as the tiny man with the tiny goatee arrives to much hooting and cheering from the crowd..
DJ SHADOW begins with a cheerful little introductory rant on the microphone.. "blah blah blah.. sorry for missing you guys on the last tour back in 2003.. you got a cool city here.. blah blah blah.. I got a new album coming out in six weeks.. most of you probably haven't heard it, unless you've downloaded it already from the internet (sounds of guilty chuckling from the crowd) so yeah, hope ya like me shit.. blah blah blah and so forth".. throughout the gig he did more of these little rants.. which although entirely unnecessary and somewhat disruptive to the overall flow of the gig still proved mildly amusing..
to kick off the gig (and in his words "get all you guys on my side") he starts with the song, BUILDING STEAM WITH A GRAIN OF SALT (off the ENTRODUCING album) as the crowd goes nuts around me..
it's a little tricky to figure the exact order of the setlist tonight as most of the songs off ENTRODUCING, THE PRIVATE PRESS and his new album THE OUTSIDER are pretty much all thrown into the turntable blender.. as snippets of various songs all bleed into each other with crazy mind melting results..
but the new tunes really stand out tonight, as they're the most aggressively gangsta selections of the mix.. with video screens flashing up a series of MC's barking, hooting and hollaring rhythmic political rants over an mix of gnashing militant breaks whilst cartoon cutouts of US presidents (I think I spotted both GEORGE W BUSH and NIXON in there somewhere) hacked at the screen with chainsaws.. throughout the entire set, the rest of the visuals also prove to be quite impressively bizarre.. featuring everything from crash-test dummies, OD'ing homeless people in subway stations, floating dolls heads, exploding buildings, geometric tracing shapes and other such psychedelic nonsense.. which were all quite freakingly cool (and damn near impossible to capture on camera)..
also joining him up on stage tonight, were 2 guest vocalists.. the first one being CHRIS JAMES who sung vocals for 2 of the brand new "OUTSIDER" songs..
the first song, was quite similar in feel to the song LONELY SOUL off of the 1st UNKLE album (PSYENCE FICTION) as it featured the same sort've soaring emotive vocals over crashing breakbeats and brooding filmscore orchestration.. ie: the sort've sound you'd expect from RICHARD ASHCROFT, or even IAN BROWN off the 2nd UNKLE album (which DJ SHADOW had nothing to do with, but is perhaps trying to copy here.. *cough*).. it was a damn cool track tho'.. and got me thinkin' that despite all the silly gangsta hiphop shit I wuz hearing earlier this new album might not suck afterall :P
the second song featuring CHRIS JAMES was a much lighter, almost twinklingly contemplative kind've vibe.. and yeah, dunno if this puppy really worked quite as well as the first (since the crowd were mostly just staring at their feet and looking confused at this point)
but despite all this, CHRIS JAMES overall proved to be quite an effective addition to the set..
up next we had the 2nd guest vocalist for the night.. a rapper MC by the name of LATEEF DAUMONT..
his vocal stylings came off sounding somewhat like the bizarre kinda rockabilly skank lyrical flow that the lead vocalist from the BARENAKED LADIES would spit out.. or the rapping flow you'd find in FATBOY SLIM's "PALOOKAVILLE" album.. it was a bizarre sound, but for the most part it worked.. especially when he cut it up on the song MASHIN' ON THE MOTORWAY from "THE PRIVATE PRESS" album..
but as is often the case with lunatic MC's at gigs like this, he rapidly overstayed his welcome as all the usual "crowd participation" EGO bullshit came into play.. see him run around trying to get the audience to scream louder.. wave their hands in the air.. and in one monumentally retarded sequence that dragged on for more than 10 minutes.. the music stopped as he tried to get us all to yell over and over in accompanyment to the MC, "BREEAAAAAAAAK.. iiiiiiT.... DOOOOOWWWWWWN!!" whilst DJ SHADOW fired off tiny turntablist beat bursts that made explosions erupt on the video screens..
(after maybe the 4th or 5th time of LATEEF doing this.. I pretty much wanted to ram the microphone down his throat and scream.. "ITS FUCKING BROKEN IN ALREADY!! LET SHADOW GET ON WITH THE MUSIC ALREADY YOOOOU STOOPID FUCKING BAAASTARD!! AAUUAUAUAAAGGGHHH!!")
*ahem* but anyhoo.. finally LATEEF left the stage and the crunchy cinematics continued full steam again.. featuring amongst other things - a comical bit of improv performance noodling to the song ORGAN DONOR, the remix of SIX DAYS (featuring vocals by MOS DEF.. just a pity he wuzn't here to do it live.. grrrr!), a crazy almost techno sounding instrumental jam that got the dancefloor going beserk, the kickarse ENCORE medley featuring an insane ear splitting breakbeat mashup between the songs NURSERY RHYME and RABBIT IN YOUR HEADLIGHTS from the 1st UNKLE ALBUM that damn near tore the roof off.. and finally to end the set, we had everyone's favourite classic cut off the album ENTRODUCING, "MIDNIGHT IN A PERFECT WORLD".. providing us with the perfect sendoff to the night.. aaaaaah :)
all in all, a damn fine way to spend 2 hours on a MONDAY NIGHT.. nice one DJ SHADOW, NiiiCE ONE!
and now I'm off to download his new album "THE OUTSIDER", coz apparently peeps tell me it's been leaked already six weeks before release.. aaah, don'tcha just love the internet? MUHAHAHHAHAHAHA! :)
Previously on Spoz's Rant: The Private Psychedelic Reel