Review by : Tadgh O Connor
Getting off the bus and disappointingly realizing that Harlequin was closed (I wanted a new jumper) we made our way the the wondrous old Harcourt street station, host to Tripod and Crawdaddy. A quick stamp of the hand and a wave of an ID and were in to see DJ shadow. I was nervous and excited, his reputation precedes him. Not only does he boast a Guinness World Record but he has worked with the Trip-Hop super group UNKLE. There’s too much to say about this gig so lets start off with the most surprising element of the night, the visuals.
Many of you may think that seeing a DJ live is no spectacle that it’s more the atmosphere of the party and the company you keep. Meet DJ Shadow. As we made our way from the bar to the stage we were greeted by an ominous silver ball in front of a screen and four projectors, two either side of the stage. My suspicions were confirmed as the test patterns were turned on to line up the projectors. There was a crack of smoke and the lights dimmed. Upon the ball we were informed that; DJ Shadow is not releasing a new album but he does have some new songs, then the videos started. The videos matched the music perfectly, taking us on trippy paths down hallways, showing us samplers and effects moving of their own accord and at one stage showing us Shadow inside the booth. During the show the DJ booth changed into a basketball bouncing around the screen behind it which was a court, then into a football being kicked around a pitch and finally a baseball flying out from a stadium.
Shadow knows how to please a crowd by starting off with a firm favorite “Building Steam With A Grain Of Salt”, from his seminal “Endtroducing”. He then progressed to some tracks from “The Private Press” notably “Walkie Talkie”. During which, upon the ball, Justin Bieber’s head was shone and then quickly exploded, followed shortly by Simon Cowell who met a similar fate. Without words he was screaming “death to boring music”. The correct sample in the hands of Shadow is like an AK in the hand of an extremist, both screaming their little form of Jihad.
After playing previously released work, Shadow turned around his ball to reveal himself. He grabbed a microphone and started on the usual “Hope you’re having a good time” etc. He then went on to introduce his new work. There was a very obvious influence of classic rock with bluesy guitar riffs sampled, there was some dub-stepesque LFO bass and in one song, the jungle standard, the amen break. (If you never heard of the amen break and have 18 minutes to kill, watch this
He kept a previous promise to go back to “stuff I know you love” when he finished up with “Organ Donor” jokingly adding “you don’t know this one do you?”. Usually I can’t stand people who make fools of themselves when the most popular well known track comes on, showing their ignorance to the performer’s other work, but that night I became one of them. The whole night was leading up to this moment and then he was gone. Leaving the crowd on a buzz which was soon met with an applaud and a chant of “one more tune”, Shadow rejoined us and was back into his ball. Someone threw a bottle at the ball, he was quickly shown disapproval from the crowd with a vicious roar of boos and a single cry of “we want blood” He assured us “No one has ever heard this one before”, what he showed us was a beautiful piano piece with vocals which apart from the occasional *ahem* “wicca wicca” was indistinguishable from an original recorded piece. He then closed with “You Can’t Go Home Again”, the final tug of the bow on a perfectly wrapped package.