A Thursday night hip hop gig wasn’t really where I wanted to be last night but at the behest of my house mate we made the journey to the Enmore theatre to see De La Soul and friends.
Yawning through Dizz 1’s set I was hoping time would miraculously hurry up and jettison us to the end of De La Soul walking off stage so I could walk out and head to bed. Dizz 1 has best intentions of making music for everyone – but a party starter his music is not. The Dubstep, Hip Hop, Reggae infused music had most of the crowd looking up at the stage wondering when the main act would come on. In a different setting and supporting a DnB or Dubstep night I’m sure a crowd would be incredibly more appreciative of the music of Dizz 1. For myself I could only wish listen appreciate in an abstract way and wish Dizz 1’s music would be over sooner rather than later.
Prince Paul hit the stage to warm up the crowd, something the slowly filling theatre gradually unthawed to. Firstly explaining his background to the new kids on the block and his relationship to De La Soul, Prince Paul took us way back to the old school hip hop and funk, soul tracks of a by-gone era. He was the perfect choice for a warm up to the main act. Even had me grooving away and forgetting about the warm bed I was anticipating.
De La Soul – I’d forgotten how much of a party they bring to each and every one of their gigs. Gracious, larger than life and down one member (Prince Paul stepping up to drive the steel plates of fate when Plug 3 – aka Maseo’s flight had been cancelled out of America) the duo of Trugoy and Posdnous walked out to mediocre applause from a half asleep crowd.
Gradually waking us up with dividing the crowd to the ‘bullshit’ and the ‘my side’ sections, De La Soul woke us up and made everyone groove. Even those slackers upstairs in the balcony section.
High lights of the set – apart from the grass roots interaction of De La Soul and the crowd – included Pot Holes in My Lawn and a double feature of A Roller Skating Jam Named “Saturdays” and Me, Myself & I, was also the energy of the crowd responding to the call and recalls (especially the female portion of the crowd meeeeeooooow-ing in a later portion of the set) but also the the tribute to J Dilla who’s anniversary of passing was this week.
During the show Trugoy and Posdnous effortlessly spoke to the crowd, involved everyone in enthusiastic singing and recalling – to a point where I felt as though the boys were performing for me and a select few others, a testament to how deep their commitment to their fans is. They also had time to sign a fans’ vinyl, another fans’ poster and Trugoy giving away his NY cap to a young lady who made the mistake of wearing a LA one to the gig (rookie error)
De La Soul had the party geared up to an 11, but remained humble throughout – reminding the crowd that if it wasn’t for us they wouldn’t be here on this stage before us. And to never fear, as if there is always love and interest from Down Under they’d be back.
The night ended with Ring Ring Ring and a final reminder for the audience to come and party with them at the after party where they would all be drinking until the small hours.
Walking out I was struck by the vast differences between the two hip hop shows I’d been to in just a couple of weeks at the Enmore. Whereas Mos Def had a showmanship to him reminiscent of Frank Sinatra the barrier between us the punters and he the performer was palpable. Whereas with De La Soul I walked out of the Enmore with a smile on my face and willingness and energy to see them at the after party and to forget about the bed I’d so been waiting for, ready for more of the party they’d brought to Sydney.
De La Soul – 10 out of 10 for performance, showmanship, graciousness and general party starter energy. I’d love to party with these guys on any given Saturday (Roller-skates optional).