Belvedere Jehosophat - Saturday, 10 May 2003
I told Compadre to drive to my house thinking that the concert was going to end very late and that, if he drove, he'd get screwed over by the trains. I knew that it started at 7:30pm and there would be at least 4 acts. This meant that DJ Krush would be getting on stage at about 11pm.
However, as Compadre knocked on the door, I, glancing at the ticket, noticed that it was due to start at 9:30pm. We decided to head into the city just in case there was a typo on the ticket - there wasn't.
The lineup stood thus:
10:00pm to 10:45pm - DJ Stanley
10:45pm to 11:00pm - Dancers
11:00pm to 11:45pm - Mr. Tsang
11:45pm to 12:00am - Dancers
12:00am to 1:30am - DJ Krush
1:30am to 2:30am - James De La Cruz
Why everything was starting so late is a question for wiser heads than mine.
Having arrived at the city at about 7:30 Compadre and I had 2 ? hours to kill. McDonald's coffee and really expensive city beer helped, but not much. We did, while walking around, see a jeep from the 50's, as in it looked like it would have been quite comfortable on the set of M*A*S*H.
Time killed, we arrived at the metro and went upstairs hoping to kill some more up there. Fortunately they had opened the Roma room (a smaller venue in the Metro Theatre building) where there was this DJ playing really cool reggae. When 10pm finally arrived we headed into the venue proper.
DJ Stanley was on first. It was just a mix of rap and funk, leaning towards the rap. Nothing revolting, though nothing spectacular. The most interesting thing about his set was this little guy break dancing. He had his little helmet and was spinning on his head and doing all that cool stuff.
Understand: At Hip Hop gigs there are always show ponies who love to dance and be noticed. Now I got no problem with this; I'd probably do it myself if it weren't for the fact that when I was born the doctor loaded up two syringes with 10CCs of self consciousness and injected them into my eyeballs, and so, as it stands, my dancing (read: rocking backwards and forwards) is quiet and unassuming.
While some of these show ponies are certainly talented they never really do anything beyond a few dance steps. It's like they want to project the image of cool without actually doing anything to earn them the title. You ever seen a guy walking who accidentally trips over his feet but breaks into a run for a step or two before he resumes walking? Dancing at Hip Hop shows is like that; people everywhere breaking into little two step dance routines before going back to the serious task of looking cool.
Anyhoo, after this little guy was done dancing none of the show ponies dared get on the floor after him because they knew they'd look like chumps in comparison. One of the show ponies looked really cut that his coolness had been usurped. I think I actually saw his lip quiver.
After DJ Stanley there was the first of two groups of dancers. They danced kinda slow and not very well. I think that they were from a break dancing school or something. It was really comical, almost a caricature of break dancing. Compadre and I laughed at them dancing but we stopped about halfway through when we realized that some of the guys were in their 40's and 50's and, hell, they had more balls than us.
After the dancers came Mr. Tsang. This was another mix of rap and funk though this time leaning towards the funk. It was a pretty good set. Some really decent funk and some really decent hip hop was played.
We spotted some hipsters during Mr. Tsang's set. I hate hipsters; people who seem to be at gigs for no other reason than to indulge in a scene. It's always easy to spot hipsters.
When Mr. Tsang started his set they both started dancing. One of them tried to do some sort of cartwheel/back flip type thing and landed on his head. He walked back to his friend looking kind of sheepish about having smacked his head into the ground only to be informed that he was, in fact, bleeding. Ka-Ching!
Music Lovers: 1
After Mr. Tsang there was another group of dancers, the show ponies. It was ok. I didn't care, I wanted to hear music.
After these sets a lady got on stage to speak about the refugee situation. A guy standing behind us, who seemed like he didn't agree with the lady, voiced his concerns. He made several well thought out arguments to support his case. The most intriguing of which consisted of screaming "Fuck me in my anus!" and "Suck my hairy balls!" It turned out that this eloquent speaker wasn't as much politicking as he was being a drunken buffoon.
DJ Krush got on at about 12pm, pretty much on schedule. I own three DJ Krush albums and I didn't recognize any songs. It seems that DJ Krush would be playing a proper DJ set.
The music was up tempo hip hop with some down tempo ones thrown in for good measure. Given that I hadn't heard the songs that he played before it's very hard to explain what they sound like exactly. I know I spent about half of his set rocking backwards and forwards (read: dancing), the other half doing the same with my eyes closed. The music was very visceral; you couldn't help but nod to it.
The beats were amazing, the music was amazing. I don't know if you've ever been really close to a break beat. It's perfection in imperfection. The broken beat of the kick drum takes you to some sort of preternatural hell where you wait, almost uncomfortably, for the release of tension that accompanies the snare drum or rim-shot at the end of the loop.
Then the cycle begins anew, true beauty, of which Krush is a master.
DJ Krush didn't talk to the crowd once during his set. I don't think he was being rude though; I think I read somewhere that he doesn't speak English.
At about 1:30pm when his set ended, he bowed to the crowd several times, had a photo taken with his back to the crowd and walked off stage. After some loud cheering he came back on and played the only songs that I did recognize, and even then only cause two out of three of them were DJ Shadow songs. In total DJ Krush played for two hours. Compadre and I left straight after this even though there was still one final act.
The gig cost 50 bucks. DJ Krush's set was more than worth it. The other sets were pretty good. The clincher, however, was when Krush played the Shadow songs. Like Compadre said "A good cover makes a great concert amazing."
Incidentally, DJ Krush looks like this:
Why he isn't wearing a shirt is a question for wiser heads than mine.
I hope that what I have written will be of some assistance.