Showing posts with label live. Show all posts
Showing posts with label live. Show all posts

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Live ReView: Q-Tip Rocks The Roundhouse

or, "My Failed Career in Concert Photography"

   Whilst I feel that one can't always put a price on seeing their heroes take the stage, it speaks oh-so-highly of my own awareness that I paid a tout's fare to get to see A Tribe Called Quest's golden voice live because I didn't hear about the gig until the last minute. And just to reinforce the severity of my error, eBay, Gumtree and Seatwave had absolutely nothing to get me up to speed. I do think you can put a price on talent, but thankfully, this was a fee I'll happily live with. Because, quite simple and plain, Q-Tip put on the best hip hop live show I've seen in 5 years

   The Camden Roundhouse is the perfect setting for a large scale indoor performance - a little reminiscent of the Globe. Since my friends and I weren't in the market for most of the DJs that heralded the first London performance in around 14 years for the world's most charismatic rapper, we only spent half an hour rumpshaking to the best that 90's hip hop had to offer; the songs that we rapped along to in our bedrooms and our cars and our showers, the anthems that made fans and DJs and dancers and musicians out of so many, the classics that earned the iconic Parental Advisory label one hundred times over. And their presence not only underscored one key component of Q-Tip's appeal - rarely bettered party hip hop - but imbued nostalgic joy in the faithful. So when the man finally came on, the head nodding in the crowd was at whiplash levels and not about to settle down

   Tip worked the crowd in approximately 0.5 seconds, even before the obligatory "What's up, London?" introductions and the hands-in-the-air incitations. With the kind of charm that only gets better with age, his brand of charisma - a rare blend of worldly wisdom, youthful exuberance and the insight and Trust-Me appeal that only President Obama (sampled in speech before Tip took the stage) and few others share - had the attending singing along to the new jams of latest LP The Renaissance - 'Move' (sampling one of the Jackson 5's greatest moments, 'Dancing Machine'), a vastly expanded version of 'You', 'Gettin' Up' and the anthemic finale 'Life Is Better', for which he disappeared into the crowd to rhyme - as they did to the A Tribe Called Quest classics that prompted the sellout ticket sales. Although the obvious classic 'Can I Kick It?' failed to appear, the back catalogue was (appropriately for its performer) thoughtfully utilised to mesh best with the soul exhortations of the new record, and as such, most of the classics were from Tribe's defining 1993 record, Midnight Marauders. 'Award Tour' (the night's largest jumping moment), 'Electric Relaxation', 'Sucka Nigga' were the sorts of songs we'd all come to hear and see, but there were outings for other seminal tracks to keep us satisfied

   Perhaps aware that he couldn't omit two signature songs, 'Bonita Applebum' appeared with an intro humourously interpolated from The Brady Bunch themesong, as did early solo hit 'Vivrant Thing', along with a few from my favourite Tribe record, The Low End Theory - 'Check The Rhime' and 'Scenario', still bringing dancefloors to their collective knees. And the band earned every single kudos and dollar they were given to back up their leader. The rapport Q-Tip shared with its members was reminiscent of so many stars of other genres who know that live renderings of their music is worthless without the contributions of other talent, and it was a joy to see him entice his bassist into a jam and dance atop the speakers as if in celebration of their energy and skill

   There's absolutely nothing abstract about the man's magnetism - this is the MC whose half assed freestyle led to one of the Beastie Boys's best singles after all - but if he was to leave it another 14 years... I don't think it would dent his appeal at all. And he'd have the time to work on his singing