Sunday, February 20, 2011

Rollin' & Scratchin'

GrandMaster Flash, The Village, Dublin.

Considered a pioneer of DJing and rightfully credited as the transformer of the turntable in to an actual instrument; these are achievements that GrandMaster Flash was never going to let us forget. With footage of him explaining the invention and evolution of his now ubiquitous techniques displayed on screen as he took to the stage to the strains of Queen's Flash blaring; hype is something he can afford considering he's adept at living up to it.

Following an accomplished opening from (I think) a Dublin DJ and vocalist; GrandMaster Flash upheld his innovative reputation with ease but enjoyed reminding the crowd whose presence they were in; the subtle message of "You're In The Room With A DJ Legend!!! Tell Your Friends Now!" constantly pulsated across the screen. Given the relentless floor-fillers mixed and the sheer electricity of his presence; those in The Village that night willingly indulged his amusing ego-boost antics.

Generously dishing out an eclectic variety of old and new mixed to perfection, his creativity couldn't fail to impress. Combining the best of 90s and 00s hip hop and rap, with old school standards from rock, pop and back to hip hop's 70s roots; everything from Jay Z to Bowie, Tupac to Blondie, Queen to Snoop Dogg and what felt like hundreds more snippets and samples of hooks, beats and riffs from crowd-pleasing favourites duly got a spin.

And all that was before he drove the crowd in to a frenzy with his best known Furious Five collaboration 1982's The Message; of which he only played a third (just enough for some chanting) before ploughing ahead to the next sample. So far, so swimmingly. Even the break down of his Mac in the last quarter of the set  failed to deter Flash or the audience. While waiting for the reboot, The Village were invited to shout their levels of appreciation for the gig, even the old standard of dividing the room in to three to out-scream each other saw the crowd happily oblige. With the computer back on track and the clock approaching 2.30am, all that was left to do was sign off with the thumping White Lines, bidding adieu and extending friendship invites to all, animatedly listing every social media site he's on.

The palpable elation of the audience reveling in the music, seeing them being 'taken back' in an instant by a scratch or a sample while injecting a dose of the contemporary, reveals the longevity of the master himself and of the style he inaugurated 30 years ago. It's evident that the music's evolution is something he has fervently accepted and amenably participated in, consistently and laudably creating hybrids of the old and new. "I don't care who's better, who's worse, my contribution is first, first is forever and that's the way it goes down in the history books". Lest we forget it.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Surely Brassy

 Peter Bjorn & John - purveyors of wondrous brass.
There's no song that can't be improved by a dirty dollop of it.