CHALI 2NA LIVE IN LONDON

Hip hop can also be funny. As much as you can’t even imagine.

Chali 2na yesterday’s gig at Cargo was a mixture of good music, hip hop attitude, friendship, happiness and good feelings.

Dj Charlee Brown was playing some classic hip hop tunes while people was arriving to the venue. I was on my own thoughts sitting down on the edge of the stage when Chali and his crew came through the door on his way to the backstage. He looked at me and put his hand on the heart and afterwards shaked my hand. I said ‘nice to meet you’, and he draw a big smile on his face.

That attitude is what I like to feel from the rappers. I like when artists make you feel like one of his mates. And clearly, Chali 2na makes you feel this way. I saw once Jurassic 5 in Madrid and I remember that gig as one of the bests hip hop shows I’ve ever seen.

The support bands

Yesterday, there were two support bands. First entrusted to break the ice and put people in the mood was Teef and his Dj. He opened his concert with a Fantômas tune that really surprised me positively. Teef did a good show and he really achieved the challenge of making the people start to dance, get closer to the stage and starting to feel that they actually were in a show. His music was a kind of UK garage, dubstep, drum n’ bass, hip hop and some metal influences that makes it really impressive. Teef’s got a raver-punk attitude on stage that knocks you out.

After another 15 minutes hip hop session by Dj Charlee Brown, Lazy Habits were the next band to hit the stage. They’ve got an original formation: drummer, percussion, dj, bassist, two horns and two mc’s. They play a rarely seen hip hop, which intends to be carefree and easy, focused to party and enjoyment with funny lyrics. Once they’re on stage you can notice they’re British, and in a kind of way that’s what I liked most of them. Sometimes hip hoppers try to imitate americans and they don’t show a strong personality. Lazy Habits though, shown they can adapt the american hip hop style into the British lifestyle.

Big up for the fisherman

After them was time for the main artist of the night: Chali 2na. He hit the stage at 10pm with a three-members band and another MC supposed to be Chali’s brother, though I don’t know if he really was his brother.

Chali’s gig was great. He devoted himself to all the audience at Cargo. He started playing a few songs from his brand new album Fish outta water, but also played some stuff from the Jurassic 5 discography with special stress to songs like Freedom or What’s golden.

Chali’s lyrics have always been a duality of fun and conciousness, trying to be close to the listener empathizing with him or her by telling stories that happen to the common people. He focus any topic from a different point of view and that makes a big difference, and there’s also the fact that he’s got a unique style. Chali’s voice sounds strong, with personality and flows easily over the music.

The band that’s touring with him needs to be specially mentioned. The bass player uses a seven string bass guitar, and he really enjoys what he does on the stage. The drummer is perfectly coordinated and has got skills that go much further than hip-hop. The keyboard player brings the melodies to the tunes and also controls the synths. All together sound like if they were many more musicians.

They did several solos, and played different styles of music, from funk to blues, from classic to pop, from rap to frantic ska… It really was a nice party and the people recognized so by applauding and showing love and respect to a guy who is a music brick-worker. And after the show he stayed with the people to meet them, take pictures and sign autographs.

And yeah, as it couldn’t be in any other way, there was a music blink to Michael Jackson: they played ‘I want you back’.

Great night, great bands, great venue.

ANTIPOP CONSORTIUM

Last night American hip hop band Antipop Consortium performed at the Scala in London. After their break in 2003, when the members worked on their solo projects, the band continued its activity in 2007. And now they’ve released a new album called Fluorescent Black.

As a resultthey are touring all around the world presenting their new job. Last night’s show was a really good one. The four members of the band combined all those skills that made them well-known: glitchy and electronic music, combined conciousness and abstract lyrics, and amazing rapping skills. But also a strong attitude up in stage.

The band style doesn’t fit with the normal prototype of a hip hop band; they play midi instruments and perform live electronic music taking structures and styles from jazz, and pop, though they’re called Antipop Consortium. They not only rap but also sing, recite, slam, and like to make noise.

From time to time, and as a break, they stopped rapping and played with their instruments, doing a sort of electronica jam session, something rarely seen in hip hop concerts, but much appreciated by the audience.

The venue was full of people and all of them seemed they’ve enjoyed themselves pretty much at the end. The highest moments of the night were when they played Ghost Lawns and Volcano.

It was definitely a great show but also a different one to add to my list of gigs.

TOUGH GUY OR CHICKEN?

A few weeks ago finished one of the best TV programmes that I’ve seen lately. Unfortunately, I didn’t had the chance to follow the weekly broadcast, but I could catch up watching all the programmes online.

The name of the programme is ‘Tough guy or chicken’ and it’s been created and broadcasted by the BBC. It is a kind of reality show programme but without famous people or individuals aiming to be famous. And also, the main objective of the programme is to show different cultures and places in the world rather than showing a competition in between individuals, even though there’s a competition.

‘Five young brits are heading the bare world’, that’s the sentence that resumes the programme. They’ll face different challenges all around the world, and every challenge will require strong mental and physical skills. It’s the survival of the fittest, nor the strongest.

Eight episodes

The first stage is Ecuador and the local cowboys whom have to drive their flock of brave bulls at 4000 metres of altitude. Some of them won’t resist the tough duties they’re asked to do and, step by step, three of them will be out of this first competition.

Next is Siberia. They’ll have to do something similar like they did in Ecuador, but now they’re facing temperatures of -50ºC and driving flocks of reindeers. Again, they don’t only have to show physical skills but respect and adapt themselves to different lifestyles; they’ll have to eat animal brains in order to withstand the cold.

The third programme takes the guys to Mexico. They’ll have to dive into subterranean caves, completely blind and with the unique help of a rope. Orientation and keeping themselves concentrated at all times will be key points to pass this stage.

After Mexico they go to Brazilian Amazon. They’ll have to take the same physical, mental and spiritual tests as the youths of an aboriginal tribe take when they step from being a child to being a man. They’ll have to take natural drugs, hunt crocodiles, snakes and let themselves be beaten by carnivorous ants.

Then it comes Namibia. The desert. No water, no food, and very long walks in the search of them under a very hot sun. And at night, they’ll have to face cold and wild predators. They’ll be dehydrated, tired, and they’ll have to spend one night alone trying to make fire to frighten off the predators. Only one will achieve that.

Bahamas is one of the most amazing episodes. They’ll have to swim with sharks. Step by step they’ll learn how these animals behave and one of them will manage to hold one of them and to stroke one specimen.

Afterwards they go to Bangladesh. This is one of the most dangerous episodes, where a mistake can mean a sure, instantaneous and painful death. They’ll have to catch a deadly cobra with the help of one of the best snake charmers in the world.

Lastly, they go to Japan.They’ll have just six days to become Buddhist Yamabushi monks and take part in one of the toughest pilgrimages on the planet. Both physical and mental tiredness after four months of travelling and challenging will be a plus to the tests that the Japanese monks put them.

Why is it a good programme?

It is mainly because it’s aim is to show people different cultures and nature, but  also because it gives a contrasted viewpoint between British (western) citizens and people from all over the world. And the challenge of the contenders is not only to pass the tests, but also to convince their local trainers that they understand they way of life that they’re learning and that they respect it by adapting themselves to it.

But also, the viewer can tell the huge differences and similarities that exist in between people who live in extreme climatic situations. In example, the Buddhist monk understands as a personal defeat that one of the guys cannot continue the challenge, and he openly starts to cry, because he knows that the British guy wants to continue but he’s not physically strong enough to do so.

So, if the programme is seen as something more than simple challenges for western civilised people, the viewer can learn and understand loads of different ways of thinking and living. It is full edutainment.

Though the episodes are no longer available to watch at the BBC Website, you can watch through this Japanese website. Don’t miss it!

TWITTIN THE REVOLUTION

A few days ago the British newspaper The Guardian published an article about the use of Twitter by two protesters of the G-20 whom organized the demonstrations and all the other protesters through Twitter, an immediate communication tool.

It seems web 2.0 is out there to help the revolution. It also happened in Iran after the reelection of the president Ahmanideyad. Protesters and opposers were organized and coordinated through Twitter, and now, they’ve done the same in Pittsburgh.

Is it good or bad for us?

The conclusion that we can take of it is that new technologies are helping common people to fight back the injustices, or at least are being used as a tool to be much better prepared to organize dissident activities. And obviously, that doesn’t escape to authorities control. If protesters get updated with new technologies so do authorities.

Police, CIA, FBI, they can control and monitor anyone they want to when anyone is using new technologies to achieve dissident activities. If they consider that someone is acting suspiciously, they can watch their activity on the Internet in order to ‘prevent’ future illegal actions.

So, this new factor in dissidence means both positive and negative aspects. However, I’d say that is more positive for protesters rather than for authorities, because its immediateness means that authorities have to react very quick in order to avoid certain actions such as the demonstrations in Pittsburgh. And sometimes, they simply can’t react as quickly as they’d like to.

The importance of Twitter is that it’s instantaneous, worldwide, and it doesn’t require more than 140 characters to communicate with others or to express yourself. Therefore, it is a tool that reports much more benefits for normal population than for authorities.

By the way, you can follow me on Twitter @javiduque

ALICE RUSSELL AT KOKO

Thursday’s concert performed by Alice Russell at Koko was simply amazing. Though I normally go to a couple of gigs every month, this has definitely  been one of the bests of the year.

Alice has a beautiful soul singer voice, and the band that plays with her is stunning. It was an almost two hours gig in one of the most magic venues in London. The Koko theatre, has this kind of essence that a singer like Alice is looking forward to transmit. Kinda burlesque, cabaret, and this French environment from the end of the 19th Century.

They performed loads of songs and played tribute to some artists such as Gnarls Barkley, Beyonce, The White Stripes and -of course they couldn’t miss him- Michael Jackson.

People who attended the concert definitely had a great time. Everybody enjoyed themselves and danced without stopping at anytime.

MR. BUNGLE

Are you tired of the same style videos they play at MTV? If so, let me introduce you two fan-made video clips of Californian band Mr. Bungle.

First is the song Retrovertigo, one of the bests songs of the band. It has been produced by Untouched Productions. “A small music video and commercial production team” that has a very personal and different way of understanding music and translating it into visual language. Retrovertigo video clip has been perfectly done in terms of shooting and editing, but most importantly, it makes justice to the song by telling a short story which combines both social and psychological factors.

Far away from mainstream style, Untouched Productions presents a music video clip full of strength and reality despite of the old testament style ending. I think is very creative and genuine.

Goodbye sober day

Next fan-made video clip is Goodbye sober day, it was made by a youtube user. It has been mainly created with archive images, but the montage is just brilliant. It follows perfectly the rhythm and captures the different states of mind of the song; sometimes calm, sometimes frantic, sometimes sad, sometimes happy. It reflects very well Mr. Bungle’s music; chaotic and insane but with a massive true behind itself.

Mike Patton and his bandmates should be proud of them.

CHAOS

Yesterday night I watched again The Doors movie, directed by Oliver Stone, with the amazing Val Kilmer on the role of Jim Morrison.

Afterwards I almost spent the whole night thinking, I couldn’t get no sleep. I was thinking on Mr. Morrison and how he lived, what he did and the message he send us. I thought of the absurd of everything in our current lives, trying to find some authenticity in this world we live. I tried to find for something original, some madness and chaos. But unfortunately I didn’t find anything but falseness.

It seems nowadays everything has been prepared from the marketing offices of a company in order to sell. Improve sells and benefits. Emptiness of soul. Is that just what we are? Consumers? Is our money what only matters?

Tired of this senseless game

I felt like Jim and if I would have some, I would have had a few shots of Jack Daniel’s to escape from this whole lifestyle of stupidity that someone has imposed upon us. I’m tired of having to be polite, having to be politically correct and following the stupid rules they tell us to follow. I want some chaos, some revolution. I want to break on through, escape. Fuck it all.

Maybe Jim was right and the only true that is left for us in order to be free is a few words. Words of poetry written by William Blake, Aldous Huxley, Charles Bukowski, Jack Kerouac, Arthur Rimbaud or Friederich Nietzsche.

And you, all you rulers of the world whom don’t care about people, whom don’t believe on revolution, chaos, disorder, madness and nihilism, never forget that there’s always something you can’t escape. In this life there’s only one sure thing: death. And you rulers whom destroy our lives will find it sooner or later. All of you will have an ending.