Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Showing Their Roots

All of this weeks random songs were inspired by The Roots concert.

Random Song 1: Bob Dylan - Masters of War
Random Song 2: The Roots - Game Theory

The Roots @ Kool Haus (24/3/07)

This was probably the most unconventional, and easily the best, concert I have ever been to. The Roots played enthusiastically for two and a half hours straight. The funny thing is, it felt like they only played 45 to 60 minutes worth of album material. What did they do with the remaining time? They took the audience through a musical history lesson that was simply stunning. The night started with the band, along with a phenomenal brass section, playing percussion instruments in the crowd as they made their way to the stage. I was lucky enough to be in the same section that they were walking through. There is something oddly mesmerizing about seeing a band unexpectedly start jamming right in front of you…but I digress. The group jammed a little more on stage before proceeding into tracks from their various albums. Now most bands usually stick closely to their material; maybe adding one or two covers. The Roots completely through that concept out of the window; and seem to have tons of fun doing so. While The Roots pretty much played tracks from all of their albums, there were long stretches where they had extended jam sessions. This was a risky move as I’m sure many came expecting a straightforward hip-hop show. Yet the move seemed to payoff as the crowd devoured the mix of Funk, Rock, Jazz, Pop, Soul, and Hip-hop. Some of the highlights included:

· A great 20 minute collage of songs were The Roots played everything from Biz Markie to Nas to Justin Timberlake to the Sugar Hill Gang to ODB, etc. They even made current radio hits from Rich Boy and Mims, sound far better than they really are. The crowd went crowd went crazy. I honestly can’t remember the last time I saw so many people dancing at a concert.
· Every member had their own solo set, where they basically did anything they wanted. The standout was by far bassist L. Hub, who cranked out some amazing scat style jazz before venturing into Hendrix style rock.
· The brass backing band, along with ?uestlove paid tribute to James Brown by doing instrumental version of several of hits.
· Guitarist Capt. Kirk, drummer ?uestlove, and one of the brass players (who they kept referring to as Tuba Gooding Jr.) did an epic interpretation of Bob Dylan’s “Masters of War”. It reminded me of the Decemberist’s “The Tain” in length; but the content, due to the subject matter, was far more scathing. They even went as far as playing the first verse to the tune of the U.S. national anthem.
· For the encore, they did stirring rendition of their hit, The Seed 2.0 and a few other classic Roots songs. As well as lively covers of The Police’s “Roxanne” and Queen’s “We Will Rock You.”

The opening act was Canada’s own Zaki Ibrahim. I had never heard of her before Saturday but I’ll definitely keep an eye out for her album. Zaki put on a really good set that actually made me long for the days of Brand New Heavies. Her music is the perfect blend old school soul with a distinct hip-hop influence.

Below are some videos I found on Youtube from the show.

Random Song 3: The Police - Roxanne
Random Song 4: Sugar Hill Gang - Jump On It

Random Song 5: The Roots - In The Music
Random Song 6: Nas - Hip Hop Is Dead

Random Song 7: Biz Markie - Just A Friend
Random Song 8: Mims - This Is Why I'm Hot

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous5:00 pm

    i saw them earlier this month as well. amazing concert, very similar to the one you saw...every bit of it was an incredible experience


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