Saturday, December 03, 2005

Lady Sovereign live in Montreal

Read closely. What you are about to experience is a wigga moment: a moment where a perfectly rational music fan and white person has a total lapse of judgment and finds himself unable to judge if seeing a rap show involving crackers is a good or bad idea. It’s not a pretty sight.

Truthfully, I had a bad feeling about the whole thing. A black cat crossed my path the day before and I had serious apprehensions about the quality of a 19 year old female British rapper’s performance. I mean, I don’t like white people rapping. I’ve only recently accepted that British people can kinda rap and I CERTAINLY don’t think women can rap. Yet for some reason (IE: she’s kind of hot…) my brain couldn’t put those things together and I still ended up going to a god damned Lady Sovereign concert. Hence the wigga moment. Things would get even more complex as ticket prices were soon revealed to be closer to 19$ than the advertised 12.50$ which is ridiculous. I’d like to say FUCK the Admission network and their “service fees”: anytime I’m paying over 20$ for a “service” it better include a fucking blowjob. Additionally, it was colder than all in hell in Montreal and timing issues relegated me to walking around outside, grumbling for 45 minutes in weather so bad my spliff wouldn’t light. Not a good beginning.

Unfortunately, things would not go up from there. I missed 90% of Cadence Weapon’s set but due to awful sound, it probably didn’t make a difference anyways. I was told the venue the concert was situated at “had an awesome sound system”. This was only true in theory: in practice what this meant was it was too fucking loud. I’m sure the sound would have been crisp and balanced for something involving instruments but as is custom in Hiphop the only thing I heard was bass pushed to the utter limits of detectable sound. This made every rap performance on that stage come off like Rage against the Machine with wanton screaming (occasionally at the sound guy in Sov’s case). At least I met Cadence Weapon which now means I’ve got physical proof that someone from is not a robot.

Nothing however would prepare me for the absolute awfulness of Ghislain Poirier, a local producer turned hipster-act. It’s at this point that I and every other rational person in the room realized that bad indie Hiphop is just dissonant, noisy beats; indie rock without the melody if you will. Fuck Sonic Youth for making this kind of noise crap possible by the way. After a painful 30 minute set including the single worst rap song about titties I’ve EVER heard, we mercifully got respite from the earsplitting beats and white guy rapping giving me a chance to see what the hell the crowd was like. Trust me when I say this: whitest crowd ever. The combination of phat-farm clad wannabe thugs and tight pants wearing hipsters was probably among the saddest things I’d ever seen. I’ve gone to wack shows before but dammit man… At least in Grime videos from Britain people seem to know what they’re doing, but this was Pitchfork’s audience in the flesh…so how the hell did I end up there? At what point did my life reach a stage where being here was a viable option?

Then…there was Sov. Truthfully she rapped quite well for a 5’1 British white girl but the crowd, the sound and the overall exasperation killed the experience. At this point, unless you’re a legend with a well regarded stage show (De La Soul, MF Doom, etc) or a must see up and coming act with confirmed stage presence (Brother Ali) I think I’m officially too old for live Hiphop of any sorts. It’s just not an enjoyable experience and the amount of effort put into most rap performances seems minimal. The grime stuff like Chi-ching and random WAS cool though so I’ll be sure to check out and actual Grime night if ever I’m in Britain. The environment will probably be more conductive towards enjoying myself, if only because British people are habitually tanked.

Luckily, the night wasn’t a total waste. We got drunk and stoned later. But that’s another story.


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