Soul Of Sydney, Soul Sounds & Mama Feel-Good Funk Collective will be throwing down the goodness this weekend with a stack PRINCE inspired SOUL, FUNK & BOOGIE as well a solid dose of PRINCE gems from 10pm THIS SATURDAY (MAY 12th).
THE PRINCE AFTER PARTY – TRIBUTE!
Right after the Concert from 10pm – Late This Saturday (May 12th).
Is it possible for an artist to convey their art in a festival setting, or do munters just wanna have fun?
I was asked by Soul of Sydney to review Good Vibrations 2011 “as an artist”. I took that to mean: “Don’t pretend to be a music journalist, just write as someone who makes music.” I know, for myself at least, that festival gigs are very different to pub or club gigs, in many ways. Subtlety can go right out the window, messages tend to be dumbed-down, and holding the crowd can be like riding the tide. For me, Good Vibrations 2011 was a mixed bag of wave-riders and wave-makers – and a non-stop rainy day that turned my fingers to prunes…
I arrived just in time to catch Aloe Blaac, who has honey for a voice, a dress sense I approve of, and a slinky backing band. Every second song was a soul classic, given the lite-and-easy treatment, including ‘Love And Happiness’ (minus the swagger) and a slow-jam version of ‘Billie Jean‘. I’m not sure what Aloe Blaac’s ‘Soul 101’ show does with or for the genre, and it didn’t engage me here any more than it did at Sydney Festival a few weeks earlier, but it seemed to go down a treat with this festival crowd.
At the other end of the spectrum was the one and only Erykah Badu, the single reason I (and, apparently, a lot of other people) was even at the festival. From the moment she stepped onto the stage (after 15 years and 20 minutes), everyone single excited one of us in the audience knew we were in the presence of not merely a singer, but an artist. Even with her own extensive catalogue, Ms Badu delves into her musical influences like veering off on tangents in a conversation. Ms Badu, who was an MC long before she came to prominence as a neo-soul singer, references old-school hip-hop in the middle of edgy renditions of her own tracks, both older (‘On & On’, ‘Danger’) and newer (‘Window Seat’). What’s most fascinating about Erykah Badu’s performance is the organic way she pulls those hip hop samples into the mix of her own output, driving the show less like a singer and more like a DJ. If you can’t see Erykah’s hands, you’re missing the show: remixing her own songs on the fly, directing her tight-as band to stop on a dime, jumping back and forth between different sections of different songs seemingly on a whim, even playing drums on her MPC – everything on that stage, from her amazing voice to her storytelling to her body, is a tool she picks up and uses sparingly, as the moment dictates. The effect of all of this is that you cannot take your eyes off her: this is a true artist, a woman celebrating her femaledom as much as her love of hip hop (and what a sight it was, watching her drop the entire Ice Cube verse from NWA’s ‘Gangsta Gangsta’, repeating the line “life ain’t nuthin’ but bitches and money” with who-knows-how-much irony, if any). It’s that same spontaneity that saw her suddenly launch into a diatribe about ‘Occupation’ toward the end of an already-running-late set – but dammit, folks been waiting a long time for her to come out here only to play the one show, and she was clearly making the most of it.
I’m no stranger to the jam-heavy live show (to say the least), but Fat Freddy’s Drop took a while to get warmed up, even for me. There were some overly long stretches of little more than a sequenced beat and that tasty horn section just kinda hanging out, but with little real movement. Singer Joe Dukie’s sublime voice graced the set right off the bat with ‘Flashback’, but his butter was spread too thinly across that raggamuffin (see what I did there? Yeow – that’s why I’m no music writer…!).
By contrast, musically an ocean apart while physically only a stage apart, the segues in the Bag Raiders set reached their destination almost before they’d begun. These are a couple of music geeks who can really play and can’t really sing, and are having fun with both of those attributes – and without a laptop in sight. In between singles ‘Shooting Stars’ and ‘Sunlight’ were some moments that were downright ultra-lounge-karaoke. Their live set felt like a peek into their bedroom jam session: two mates who could be making any type of music they chose, they just happened to choose sweet dance pop.
Nas and Damian Marley made being epic look effortless. Backed by a full band, including a guy whose only job was to wave a giant Lion Of Judah flag throughout the set, Nas and Damian Marley put on a powerful show with a message that permeated every song without ever becoming preachy. Apart from some “When I say ‘Hip’, you say…” action from Nas early in the set, there were no cliches here, everything familiar but nothing obvious, and they owned the crowd from the (late) start to the (even later) finish. Tracks from their ‘Distant Relatives’ collaboration were interspersed with each of the artists dropping hits from his individual catalogue. The crowd blew up when hit with modern classics ‘Hip Hop is Dead‘ and ‘Welcome To Jamrock’; and there was no less fervour for newer tracks like ‘As We Enter’, one of the many examples of the fresh reggae/hip hop crossover these guys have been lauded for creating. If I weren’t an Erykah fan, I’d say Nas and Damian Marley’s set was the best thing that happened on this day – I was so moved, inside and out, that I completely forgot to check out Kelis. And as if they hadn’t rocked my world enough, they closed their set with Damien Senior’s “Could You Be Loved”, only one of the most glorious songs of all time.
Oh that Ludacris, such a character… I was curious to see how his larger-than-life persona would translate to his stage show. His set was an abridged Ludacristory, comprising a verse and a chorus of every single song he ever released. Good for fans and short attention spans – which, by this late stage of the day, was probably as much as many folks could handle.
Phoenix, that charming Frenchy fivesome (I’d thought there were only four?), offered up a yum-cha selection of tracks from across all their albums, against a dynamic black-and-white backlit setpiece that showed off just how much of an animal their drummer is. You may be wondering, “Why is this guy reviewing a synth-rock band in a soul/hip hop blog?” The two brothers from Phoenix are actually soul music connoisseurs; you can hear it across their albums. Ironically, I missed ‘Too Young’ coz I’m too old, and therefore too tired to stay at Good Vibes any longer, and not long after ‘It’s Never Been Like That’ I finally called it a day.
Many thanks to Soul of Sydney for this opportunity – and for my first-ever Good Vibes experience.
Ray Mann bids a fond “Farewell Australia” with one huge night, featuring The Ray Mann Three performing live, with some very special guests, followed by an all-night party – all under the one roof: Melt Bar, in Sydney’s Kings Cross. After national tours with Al Green, Tori Amos, and a successful debut tour of Japan, Ray Mann is taking the plunge and to pursue his musical career in other parts of the world. Come celebrate Ray Mann’s big move with a night not to be missed!
Thanks to Grindin Music, this Friday night sees Melt Bar in Sydney, transform into a night of Nu soul grooves of laidback live music, DJ’s and of course ERIC LAU (Ubiquity Records/UK). If you’ve never heard of him before, you need to know. Born and raised in the UK, Eric Lau’s musical journey is not atypical of a producers, nor was his musical exposure vast and deep – he had little to do with music growing up. Intent on finishing his business degree under the strict provision of his parents, Eric’s life was systematically planned out in the corporate world. It wasn’t until the suicide of his bestfriend at University did he rethink his direction in life, coming across the world of music, which would forever cement his passion and direction in life.
He released his debut album in 2008 through acclaimed Ubiquity Records called “New Territories”, prior to that had already produced music for various artists and had featured on compilation CD’s. He has produced music for artists such as Lupe Fiasco, Dudley Perkins, Georgia Anne Muldrow, Tanya Morgan and many others. His music production is similar to J Dilla or Sa Ra Creative Partners, the difference is, less is more. J Dilla is one of Lau’s musical heroes paying tribute to the great late Jay Dee in a track called ‘For the D’ produced by Eric Lau featuring rapper Guilty Simpson. ‘For the D’ can be found on a compilation CD entitled ‘Producers No.1’ which showcases quality music from beat production ranging from broken beat, to hip hop to soul.
New Territories released 2008 (Ubiquity Records)
With the recent release of Kilawatt series V2 (March 2010), we’re in for more than a treat this Friday night. Eric Lau will be playing a DJ set at Melt Bar with live performances from 13th Son featuring DJ Sandro, New Soul/Jazz/Hip Hop outfit and regular residents at Melt Bar 5 Coffees, DJ’s Trey, JC Funkdafied, Huwston and of course a DJ set from Eric Lau! So if you want to hear music and vibe in an atmosphere you’ve never experienced before, come down. Grindin Music has especially been keen to present a night to you all that has musically never been done before. Many people forget that LIVE music content is what is missing here in Sydney and this night isn’t just live music, but live soul with a dash of jazzy hip hop. If this night goes well, we’ll be doing this on a monthly basis. Show your support for something new where it’s all about Music!
It’s time to make some noise for one of the pioneers of the Neo Soul movement – ERYKAH BADU! From the lady that brought us classics like “Didn’t Cha Know”, “Bag Lady”, “I Want You”, “Ye-Yo”, “On&On”, “Tyrone” and “Love of My Life (Hip Hop)”, Erykah Badu has made an indelible mark in the music industry not only as a creative genius, but as an original artist in a league of her own. Badu seamlessly fuses organic sounds of African rhythms, to Hip Hop, to Jazz, Soul to Funk. As a mother, singer/songwriter, producer and entertainer she can hypnotize an audience without the overbearing trait of preaching a movement – she just lives it.
After rumours of having been denied to perform for Peats Ridge Festival 09/10, a petition has been created via Facebook to let major promoters know that there is a fanbase in Australia. The petition aims to make some waves in the industry with the desired outcome of a future Australian tour! Her new album NEW AMERYKAH Pt.II: Return of the Ankh will be released on the 25th of February, 2010 which sees her collaborate with multiple artists from Jay Electronica, 9th Wonder, Shafiq Husayn of SA RA, Madlib, Georgia Anne Muldrow, Lil Wayne and Bilal to name a few. Honorable mention goes to J DILLA for the use of his production beyond the grave in the collaboration track entitled ‘LOVE’.
The Erykah Badu petition in essence is all about music – her music, and the heart of the petition is YOU – her fans. Music is our universal language. You know it. I know it. It’s that knowing smile we’ve all experienced. Sometimes we wish the world could take it’s time with us. But it doesn’t. Music is the only thing that can make us take control and say ‘world, you gotta wait…cos my jams on!’
It’s the tingles, the goosebumps, it’s the headnod, it’s the smile….it’s losing ourselves in the moment….it just is.
Music speaks, moves, inspires, instills faith, HEALS and encourages strength through boldness!!
LET’S BE BOLD!
Join the Facebook petition by clicking on the link below and help make some noise by being apart of this cause:
Mixed simply for the love of Good Music and BADUIZM!
Excerpt from Kavi R’s website: This mix was crafted with love and respect for the artist. All songs are played at their original tempo. “I’m an artist and I’m sensitive about my shit”! Ditto! if you’re digging my mixes, positive feedback is warmly received. I’m extremely passionate about exploring and exposing uncommon underground quality music. I rarely hear this music on the radio, in the clubs or see it on tv. It’s up to us individuals to keep the Funk alive!
Why I mix the way I do…I’m an old school DJ that believes in utilizing every feature of the “1s & 2s”, “Wheels Of Steel”…Turntables! Mixing, remixing, scratching and juggling two copies are all part of the DJ / Hip Hop art form and culture that I grew up with.
1. Southern Girl – Erykah Badu ft. Rahzel
2. Southern Girl – Kavi-R remix
3. Danger – Erykah Badu ft. China Black
4. Real Thang – Erykah Badu
5. Drama – Erykah Badu
6. On & On – Erykah Badu
7. You Got Me – The Roots ft. Erykah Badu
8. Otherside Of The Game – Erykah Badu
9. Time’s a Waistin’ – Erykah Badu
10. Certainly – Erykah Badu
There’s an interesting buzz now here in Sydney with the Place of Public Entertainment law (PoPE) finally being abolished. Do yourself a favour and be aware just how much our city will awaken from its slumber in the next couple of months. Walking around town Sunday evening past several cafes and pubs along Broadway, I found more live music on street corners than I had seen in a long while. There was an air of vibrancy that seemed to lightly hang upon the stillness of our sleeping streets. I felt the city had held its tired breath and finally exhaled this thick air of inspiration that seemed to linger, where all I could hear and see were smiling faces appreciative of being in the presence of live music again. It felt good! Why? Our musical culture is back!
This is what it’s all about – a culture! Sydney is changing and it’s changing for the better and it’s up to you – the person, to maintain this culture. In order to cultivate this live culture, we must be steadfast at supporting local artists and live bands, spreading the word by mouth, supporting your scene and supporting venues and promoters that make it all possible for our enjoyment.
After 3 years of specialist music services, unique events, album launches, soundsystems, and now also a resourceful blog. The independent JembeMusic is turning a big 3 years old. Celebrating in style, we have two special globe trotters coming to the party. From Brooklyn NYC, legendary DJ Nickodemus returns to the heat of the Australian summer for his “Sun People” tour (how appropriate).
Come along, dance and enjoy a unique intimate show, bringing his funk, soul, hip hop, house, disco, and global beats signature, together with the eclectic dancefloor jazz selector, direct from Germany’s Vinyl Vibes party and label, Karsten John. Also spinning, are music addicts and pushers, James Locksmith and Huwston and we have one of Australia’s most sought after percussionists, Grant Naylor hitting the skins (no pun intended). This is a birthday party that everyone is invited to and certainly one not to be missed!