Archive for September, 2008

Black Seeds at the Civic

Wednesday, September 17th, 2008 | Reviews | 1 Comment
Black Seeds at the Civic

On a slightly cold but not wet Christchurch evening, people of all cultures and creeds (that are tolerated in our enthusiastic, but small city), congregated together to celebrate what has now almost become a cultural institution. This was last Friday night,  September 12th to be exact, when I lined up with the rest of the crowd at the venue ‘The Civic’ to get in and check out long-time favourites The Black Seeds, who are touring their fifth and latest album “Solid Ground” (see V.G Article from July 29th, 2008 for more details).

They were supported by local groups The Oakley ‘OG’ Grenell live band, and The Dubwise Soundsystem who got the crowd all nicely warmed up and feeling the vibes. OG and guests started around 10pm or so, with their ‘roots rock’ live ensemble. Oakley who was mostly on guitar (and vocals on Bob Marley cover ‘Kaya’) appeared on stage with a full cast of stars including 2 singers, 2 MCs and other assorted musicians. The crowd was really digging their tunes and loving the positive atmosphere they created.

Next was Dubwise who although are personal favourites of mine, seemed as though they should have been first in the line up. No disrespect meant to MC Snypa Levi and DJ Messenjah, but it was hard for the pair to hold the crowds attention after the interactive groove-fest that was the OG band. Now this may say more about the crowd than the artists, but my opinion still stands, they should have started the gig first up, with OG in the middle.

Just after midnight the crowd rocketed into full force as they anticipated the presence of the mighty Black Seeds, who kicked off the set with one of their recent singles “Slingshot” (from the new album) and fired off Boys of the Coasta few more songs before saying a big hello to the highly stimulated crowd, who responded accordingly. The double-edged-sword of the Christchurch live scene is that crowds go wild, so they are guaranteed to react, but not always as expected. This means that they can either be very vocally supportive, or obnoxious and aggressive, more so than other main centres of New Zealand.  On this peaceful Friday night though, all the goodness came alive, with very little anger and the only pushing in the sold out crowd, was in time to the beat.

It seems that after years of touring both locally and around the globe, the boys have perfected the art of the live gig and are quite the consummate professionals, knowing exactly when to bust out the right song, to tickle the crowds fancy. They played a great range of songs spanning all their albums, including a personal favourite of mine “Coming back home”. The attended masses were definitely not disappointed, and went away with a funky satisfied feeling. Not only due to the powerful music, trippy visual displays and the sweet smells of marijuana hanging patiently in the air, but mainly due to the reverie from a night of good times shared by all. The Black Seeds irresistible mixture of reggae, dub and funk all thrown together to create a party vibe, has been the backbone of many casual barbecues and back-yard-cricket games, and will live on for many summers to come. Viva la The Black Seeds!

-Video For the single ‘Slingshot’-


If you’re after more info or details: check out The Black Seeds awesome website

…where you can listen to their songs and play with giraffes!

The Black Seeds Official Site

“Love is given, taken away
Never take more than you give I say
Life has a way of telling us
When your causing a mess or fuss”

(Slingshot – The Black Seeds)

Until next time …Yossarian

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Cover Your Artz

Tuesday, September 16th, 2008 | News | No Comments
Cover Your Artz

Calling all music industry and aspiring musical entrepreneurs… Ever wanted to find a roadie that has perfected the Tarago Tetris packing technique, a sound guy who knows the difference between a male and female jack, a tour manager who can wake up on time or even a multi talented individual who may save you time and money (and sanity) on the road? Well a new business has arrived from some familiar faces from the Australian scene that seeks to solve, or at least alleviate some of these headaches.

While admittedly they can’t vouch for musical tastes and hygiene, accounting for their talents in the world of production is more then enough for tour managers and self managed artists, and if not, they also provide      *Sound engineers – live and studio *Merchandisers *Tour managers *Production managers *Photographers *Lighting designers *Monitor engineers *Instrument techs *Roadies *Instrument repairs *Stage managers *VJ’s *Poster flyer distro *Street teams *Artist branding – logos etc *Poster printing *Tee printing *Web design *Bio writers *Concert video production *CD burning facilities.

Conveniently the team have answered on their website which was launched just last week “What is in it for the amazing production staff? Aside from work that is… Well, work and more work… and did we mention work? By listing your businesses’ skills or services on this one-of-a-kind website, you can get the jobs you want to do. We have much in the works here at Cover Your Artz. Stay tuned for our handy service where you can organise your schedule easily via the website.”

Having been involved in many concerts, tours, festivals, artist launches and the like myself, I can see some great value in this service and will be looking forward to experiencing the convenience and security this is sure to offer.

Whether you are the talent, the tour manager, or just curious…

You can check out the site for yourself at:

www.coveryourartz.com

Yaheard? Lightheaded & Braille

Friday, September 12th, 2008 | Reviews | 1 Comment
Yaheard? Lightheaded & Braille

Whats up everyone! So a couple weeks back I introduced you (hopefully!) to an album called The Find by Ohmega Watts. Well, this week we’re gonna take a look at an album he released with his group Lightheaded, as well as a dope album by one of his Lightheaded friends, Braille.

I discovered this music after I listened to Ohmega’s album and taking some serious notice of some of Braille’s rhymes. After a bit of research I was more than pleased to find they were actually part of the same group, along with another MC called Othello. Wrong Way is the second album from Lightheaded, and was released way back in 2005. Full of up-tempo b-boy jams and summertime beats; the three artists create something that has you nodding your head and reminiscing about the golden days of hip hop. Drawing influence from the likes of People Under The Stairs, Gangstarr, Jurassic 5 and Ugly Duckling (circa Journey To Anywhere), the three MC’s rhyme with conscious and positive lyrics over some seriously good Ohmega Watts production.

The album wastes no time in starting the party, the second track, “Timeless”, comes in with a funky horn loop over a cracking drum beat, before the MC’s start with the timeless (no pun intended) hip hop mantra “Clap your hands everybody, if you what it takes……”.

The MC’s feed off each other and rap collectively as well as dropping tight verses individually, this is a truly classic party track that is impossible not to love. The whole album is awesome though, its another one that you can easily listen to from start to finish. Notable standouts include the title track, “Wrong Way”, as well as the samba-influenced “In The Building”, and the chilled out groove of the “Surprise Cypher” remix.

The production on the album is easily as solid as that on The Find, track after track of head-nodding party beats and cuts, catchy hooks and feelgood melodies. Ohmega’s skill on the boards is undeniable, and he raps just as well too. What stands out is that these guys are all very different when it comes to their rhyme styles, yet they flow together amazingly. Braille, Ohmega Watts and Othello have the ability to create dope positive hip hop with seeming ease, its certainly a chemistry that would be envied by many artists.


Lightheaded - Soul Power

For me, Braille’s rhyme skills really came to the fore upon hearing the Lightheaded joint. He has an instantly recognisable voice and a flow that suits the feelgood party beats that I know I love. With four solo albums and two with Lightheaded, along with running his own label (www.hiphopismusic.com), Braille is obviously a very committed and hardworking artist. As a Christian, his beliefs are often expressed in his songs, although never in an in-your-face kind of way, more of a positive and uplifting kind of way. His second album, “Shades of Grey”, is a strong showing from the Portland-based MC; and again features contributions from his pal Ohmega Watts.

“It Won’t Last” kicks off the album in style with a funky acoustic guitar riff and toe-tapping beat. Braille is joined by Othello and Pigeon John, who all rhyme together on the hook. “Hip Hop Music” follows, and keeps the beat rolling with Braille coming with insightful lyrics about the stereotypes surrounding hip hip artists. Scratch master Rob Swift, of The Executioners, adds cuts to top this track off, making it one of the best on the album. Ohmega joins the party on “Statements Part 2″, where the two MC’s rhyme together about Lightheaded and an older project they did together called Return to Sender; a track that would sit comfortably on The Find or Timeless.

The album cruises through solid tracks “Keep On” and “Let Go”, before moving to “Poetry in Motion”, which features synthy piano and dope cuts and samples from Muneshine on production. The Lightheaded crew then reunite along with Sharlok Poems on “Soul Rock” in another feelgood hit. Braille finishes off with one of the albums best tracks in “Shades of Grey”. Dropping with a big orchestral build-up, Braille bursts in and delivers some of the best lyrics of the entire album. He breaks down the realities of life, particularly his, and through the use of some beautifully complex lyrics he discusses the importance of staying positive and striving to always make the most of what you’ve got in life regardless of your situation, to always make do with your shades of grey;

“Sipping on my sorrow while it’s washing it away,
trying to add color to these shades of grey,
and trying to make sense out of all this confusion,
embrace my reality and unmask illusions, holograms,
i advance on a quest with many questions,
distracted for a second but I know that I’m destined,
counting my blessing, renewed everyday,
and I know I’d never grow without these shades of grey”

These are both great hip hop albums, no question. Hip hop music made for all the right reasons appeals to me greatly. I’m sick of hearing artists who find it necessary to continuously big up the bling-bling “money-cash-ho’s” type ideology. These guys, however, never come close to that; you can really tell that the MC’s are serious and passionate about their craft. They flow with effortless finesse, delivering track-after-track of music that pays homage to the early days of hip hop, where rolling party beats and conscious lyricism were the order of the day.

Braille also has a new album out, The IV Edition, which is well worth checking out.

You can check out more of Braille at:

www.myspace.com/braillebrizzy

www.hiphopismusic.com

and hear some of Lightheaded’s tracks at:

www.myspace.com/lightheaded where they’ve also announced that they’re working on a new album.

That’s all for now,

Peace

…Crack

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Amp up the sound of the South

Friday, September 12th, 2008 | News | 1 Comment
Amp up the sound of the South

The focus of today’s informational extravaganza is ‘Southern Amp’, an annual New Zealand musical event held in the Main City of the South Island, Christchurch (aka Churchtown). For several years now it has attracted a healthy mixture of both local and international talents. This year’s line-up is no exception with generous portions of polished stones and rough diamonds.  Some of Very Good’s favourites will be in force to entertain the masses, including: Trillion, The L.E.D’s, O.G, The Little Bushmen along with many other acts also appearing.

There are some internationally known groups turning up for good measure, like the The Charlatans and The Dandy Warhols who are included in the line-up of over 40 bands and DJ’s on 4 live music stages.  The stages are: “The Main Stage”, “Ministry of Sound Stage”, “NZ Music Stage” and “The Christchurch Music Stage”, with all this space there is room for acts across the musical divides from Rock to Dance, and Drum n Bass to Indie. In my opinion it’s great that a gig like this can incorporate both established well-known acts, along with up-and-coming local groups, that many may not know yet.

The promo material states that: “Southern Amp is an R15 restricted event and has a strictly limited attendance  of approximately 9000 due to capacity” at the venue. “All stages will be completely  undercover” either inside or under a large tent to protect from the weather if needed. But if the weather co-operates they can “let the sun in and the great vibes out!” Organisers also recommend getting tickets organised as soon as you can, so you don’t miss out on the goodness.

If you live in the South Island of New Zealand or in the surrounding areas, you’d probably agree that we don’t have an over-abundance of musical festivals, but the ones we do have are definitely worth attending. We do have some that have come and gone over the years, but my basic point is that what there is we have to support and treasure. So if you are nearby might be worth getting into gear and rocking with the massive!

Vital Details you may want to know:

Venue: Westpac Arena Festival Park, Chch, NZ.
Date: Sunday 9th of November 2008
Time: 12:00pm to 11:30pm

For more info check out:

Official Southern Amp Site

…Yossarian

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Typical Cats

Wednesday, September 10th, 2008 | News | No Comments
Typical Cats

Despite their name, the refreshing style of poetry and jazz coming from these three emcee’s and DJ from Chicago is anything but typical. You might catch them dropping playful raps that challenge the limits of story telling, or you might catch them slumping into slow and simple jazz licks, either way all of their incredible vocal flows take you on a journey of rhyming and timing.

Made up of MCs Qwel, Qwazaar and Denizen Kane, with producer/DJ Natural, and assistance from Kid Knish, Typical Cats came together as a group on the WHPK Wednesday Night Rap Show, an independent Chicago radio station on FM 88.5 covering the South Side of Chicago.

The three emcee’s individual lyrical styles have you come away from their albums feeling like there were three solo artists battling each other, but with a unique tamed aggression. Their self titled album brought a lot of attention to some otherwise fairly underground artists. The album put on display the many flavours Typical Cats have between them, floating effortlessly from hard hitting speed rap, to lazy jazz poetry in a half a beat, telling stories with words, piano’s, and anything else they felt like.

It is as hard to describe Typical Cats as it is to find decent video footage of their performances, so the below video will at least give you an idea of their style…

Aside from Typical Cats, these emcee’s make regular noise in the Chicago and bay area freestyle scene. Denizen Kanes’ other projectI was born with two tongues’ see’s him spending much time in Oakland where he performs with this spoken word community. Qwel on the other hand has been involved in 16 albums since the release of their debut album ‘Typical Cats’ in 2000, working on collaboration projects with Maker, Jackson Jones, Meaty Ogre, Mike Gao, Silence, and Robust just to name a few.

You can check out more of Typical Cats at:

www.myspace.com/typicalcatscrew

check out ‘Snake Oil’ and ‘Quleoquiallisms for the relaxing simplicity:

www.myspace.com/typicalcats

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