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Concordia Orientation 2005 Concert, Day 1

  • 19th Sep, 2005 at 2:37 AM

Continuing with my journey of musical exploration, I showed up to the same stage on Thursday afternoon to see what the second day on concerts would bring. Little did I expect a show filled mostly with hip hop. Still, I figured I would try it out and see if I liked it.

I woke up with the most astounding headache and ringing in the ears. So I went to the hardware store and bought myself a set of construction-grade foam earplugs. Rated to 29 dB of sound reduction, these things made standing up close to the stage much more tolerable.

Sikh Knowledge
Originally uploaded by sfllaw.

Atach Tatuq
Originally uploaded by sfllaw.

Sikh Knowledge is a politically-correct hip hop musician who repeated exhorted us to Google him. I have to admit that his message was fine, but there seemed to be something missing in his music. I'm not qualified to say why, but it seemed like it lacked the deep rhythms so prevalent in this genre. His style really seems to lean towards beat poetry, than it does anything else.

Atach Tatuq is a francophone hip hop band that seems to be a co-operative of various DJs in the city. They had some problems with the record players while they were playing, which caused the singers to swear a bit at the equipment. They seemed to work around it though. I'm unsure if they were any good, being incapable of understanding the lyrics, but I must note that they proved that full-body rainsuits do not make men look good.

Originally uploaded by sfllaw.

Originally uploaded by sfllaw.

Kobayashi was certainly my favourite band at this particular concert. Julie was definitely right that these people would be my cup of tea. Here is just a checklist of things that I like: piano, saxophones, bass, and flute. Plus an adorable vocalist with dorky glasses, who danced as she sang little jazz rhythms. How sweet is that?

This was quite an unexpected twist from the spoken word pieces I heard before. The little melodies and harmonies were really nice, and their drummer was quite muted. All in all, Kobayashi sounded like a jazz band with electric instruments and so modern influences.

They seemed to have travelled to Toronto tonight for a show at a festival there. But I'm pretty sure they'll be back in town. In the meantime, I can fill their pockets by ordering some records.

Nomadic Massive
Originally uploaded by sfllaw.

Originally uploaded by sfllaw.

Nomadic Massive is the most multicultural ensemble I've ever seen in my entire life. Apparently, they're a collective of "artists of Haitian, Chilean, French, Algerian, Chinese and Argentinean origin." And collective is most certainly the right word; they seem to sing like hippies, dance like hippies, and dress like hippies. Not a problem, but a big cognitive dissonance. Interestingly enough, their show didn't strike any cords of cultural misappropriation for me, and their fusion approach to music seems to work pretty well for them. I did have trouble following the umpteen different languages they switched between, often in mid-sentence!

They finished their set early, and a guy who called himself Narcissist came up on stage. He brought along a DJ friend, whose moniker I seemed to miss. In any event, there was a little bit of rapping that seemed pretty heartfelt, but wasn't of spectacular production quality. What was rather unique about this performance was that his set was snuck in under the Nomadic Massive title. Oh yeah, and his sister caught everything on videotape.

Sans Pression
Originally uploaded by sfllaw.

Miri Ben-Ari
Originally uploaded by sfllaw.

Sans Pression was a hip hop band that the audience seemed pretty happy about, but I didn't particularly care for it.

Miri Ben-Ari was a pretty novel performance. An amplified violin was played by a hip hop violinist. What appeared to happen were lots of riffs on traditional violin pieces played with a swing beat. There was a lot of dancing around as well, so I was fairly impressed that the violinist didn't screech many notes. It's probably pretty difficult to move around with a violin, if you're not fiddling, so I didn't expect any great feats of virtuosity.

Actually, Miri tried a whole bunch of very impressive vibrato, and fast 1/32 notes, to try to impress the crowd. However, this seemed to fail because the audience wasn't used to this musical tradition.

As well, their DJ mixed records fantastically. I never really understood what DJs did, but the scratching that this guy did was incredible. I don't know how he knew how much to rotate the record, or to skip the head, but it seemed that he was quite competent. I guess this particular set was more gimmicky than it was beautiful, but they did put on a good show.

Moka Only and the Quarter Tones
Originally uploaded by sfllaw.

Nappy Roots
Originally uploaded by sfllaw.

Moka Only is a hip hop artist that had very pop-style choruses. Of note was his backup band, called The Quartertones, which is this asian funk band based out of Toronto. These guys play their guitars incredibly well.

The last act was Nappy Roots, which is a stereotypical hip hop band that you'd see on television. Wow, these guys are really offensive. They glamourised drugs, alcohol, and the objectification of women. There were a lot of girls, predominately Caucasian, who were screaming and dancing and wailing. I can only surmise that they have incredibly poor taste in men.

What was pretty funny was one of their songs was about being poor, and always being poor. Not only was this ironic, because none of these musicians seemed poor, but the audience of affluent middle-class kids were all singing along. I really couldn't help but laugh at this thought. I seem to recall something about mainstream culture mining the lower-classes for creative capital, which is quite obviously the case here.

In tune with their lyrics, one of the band members passed out bottles of beer to the audience, as well as the remains of a joint. The security guard eventually took it away from the audience member who got a puff. I'm really impressed at the professionalism of the hired security guards, who endured quite a large amount of silliness throughout the evening.


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
19th Sep, 2005 07:53 (UTC)
Ah, Kobayashi do have records. I couldn't find any at the Jazz Festival's (tiny) CD tent when I went looking back in July, and it promptly fell out of my head. Gotta love the two-sax attack; it seems like an excessive idea, but it works so well.
19th Sep, 2005 13:58 (UTC)
Both nights of ConU's orientation concerts, I was one of the poor saps sitting in classrooms in the Hall building with windows overlooking MacKay. Yeah, super easy to concentrate on the lessons....

(One prof kept asking if any of us had tylenol to give him.)
19th Sep, 2005 14:12 (UTC)
Argh! That must have been rough.

This is why, at Waterloo, Frosh Week is held before any classes start whatsoever.
19th Sep, 2005 14:28 (UTC)
Same at Mt Allison.
19th Sep, 2005 18:02 (UTC)
For DJ scratching, Montreal-based Kid Koala is rather amazing.
30th Sep, 2005 19:07 (UTC)
the show
I think the guy who did this write up doesn't know much about hip-hop
music .

stick to what you know

13th Oct, 2005 14:44 (UTC)
Your review
Mr Law,

I like your writing style. However I find you a little biased in your pre-conceived notions when commenting on Hip Hop aesthetics.

I would like for you to elaborate on the cognitive dissonance that you perceipved between what you qualify as "hippie dance, song and dress" and what Nomadic Massive brought to your consciousness. That was a bold statement and you leave me intrigued.

By the way Nomadic Massive express themselves in 5 languages. Okay sometimes we invent words too, we know what the fact is!


Diegal L. alias Rawgged MC
Nomadic Massive
13th Oct, 2005 15:06 (UTC)
Re: Your review
I have to say that I really did like your set. Yours was one of the performances that left a very good impression on me.

And it may very well be true that I have some pre-conceived notions about hip hop, although I can't claim them to be anything specific. I'm trying to find my way around the modern, western, musical landscape and it's all been very confusing. Perhaps you could point me in the right direction?

As for the cognitive dissonance, that's really a product of how the hippie experiment of the 1960s failed. It's great how you've taken the "peace, love, and music" missive of that time to the present, more cynical, era. Plus, I couldn't help at being impressed by how you wove various cultural traditions together. At a time when most folk singers don't even bother to do these things, I was pleasantly surprised.
16th Oct, 2005 01:54 (UTC)
Re: Your review
the review was ok...well, not really....

the "objectification of women", "drugs, and alcohol" condoning...

man, you sound like the text-book hip-hop critict....you don't really know the first thing about lyrical content in hip-hop....im going to refer you to a special that ed the sock recently did on hip-hop, so you can see some of your errors in judgement, in sock form....it was recently aired all over the place, called "What's Wrong with Hip Hop"....in short man...YOU!....

on the advice of a teacher, i google my self to see what's going on and what i can do to improve exposure....i look for well-read critics, versed in whatever they are criticizing...but honestly..you're a little off. it's not a bad thing...but you should really try listening a little more to the genre, and then doing reviews.

"a guy who called himself Narcissist came up on stage"...what? are you not from montreal?...give it up for your city man....i dont know if you're reviewing for posh-ass audiences who like anything stamped "nija tune", that eat vegan cookies and shit, up in the plateau....but people who know they're stuff read your review, ....and don't agree with context, and tone of voice..

your take on the vernacular is all off as well, cause you would would realize that half the shit nappy roots were saying, was in the spirit of classic hip-hop frustration....the objectifying women part, dont take it seriously stupid, (watch that ed the sock thing)...

they're a good band...

your review was not funny, not even passivley...

it was cute how how you made the word alcohol a link to a pic of some guy holding a bottle of alcohol....but other than that man....if you converse the way you type...i would pull a "yeah, i have to go over here now...", and walk away...

i guess one more point, what do you know about "spectacular production quality"???....probably nothing...bah.

im not even upset over how you reviewed my shit...but what i think to myself is this-->

"who is this guy?, ..doesn't quite hit the nail on alot of shit. and i think he tries wayyyyy too hard"...

man, do NOT review anymore shows around school, if you can't really dig it in the first homy.....

"We are Hip-Hop, you, me, everybody"-mos def



16th Oct, 2005 02:08 (UTC)
Re: Your review
lastly...although there was nothing directly offensive in your review....there was this underlying resentment towards hip-hop, like you really don't appreciate it.....like you were picked on by black kids on the bus coming home from school, and really quite obliviously, carried that with you into adulthood.....it's more your lack of enthusiasm for local forms of the genre I resent...

16th Oct, 2005 03:34 (UTC)
Re: Your review
I'm afraid that you're a little off-base here. I have never been picked on by black kids at all. Rather, the majority of my experience with the black community comes from people who went to universities that I wish I had gotten into.

I have obviously touched on some nerve in your community that I didn't really know existed. What is interesting is most of this criticism seems to have latched on to the fact that I was not impressed by the behaviour of the last band.

But I really wasn't. Perhaps the vernacular has this deep irony that I'm completely missing, but if so, then I'm afraid one of the side-effects is that people will find it offensive. The solution here is not to get defensive and discourage people from discovering your subculture, but to promote understanding.
16th Oct, 2005 05:56 (UTC)
Re: Your review
two errors on your part...

1) same thing that i was hitting on before..."discourage people from discovering your subculture, but to promote understanding"...this isnt MY subculture...YOU are as involved in hip hop as i am, by being its critic...hip hop is the only art form (other than other self oriented art) where the artist himself, or herself, is the subject...to close, your in this whether you like it or not, so know your role...

2) second, my black kid comment was a joke, again taken to seriously...take it easy.....get some mos def, or something.....but you strike me as a paul wall kinda guy...

take care

( 12 comments — Leave a comment )