Saturday, May 23, 2009

Some Thoughts

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Pic: Lord Quas

Unfortunately, Zomby didn't make it to his Athens gig last night, which was no surprise since the guy doesn't show up in most of his home gigs - i wouldn't expect him to fly overseas and play. Maybe it's his elaborate scheme for making a name for himself: Zomby never shows up for his gigs, so when he finally does show up, it will be more of a rare, sought-out experience. But i don't want to think that way. I am just curious what his agency has to say about all these no-shows.


Anyway, his absence left the 2:00 slot open so we could catch Stones Throw crew Madlib, Egon and J Rocc play in another venue, not too far from there. When we came in, Egon was playing some old Greek psychedelic tunes, followed by some old psychedelic tunes from Cairo, followed by some old psychedelic tunes from fuck-knows-where. The music was deep, and it was a total mind-blower. J Rocc played a nice set of mostly straightforward hip-hop tunes along with some ill Dilla beats and the odd selection here and there, and then it was Madlib's turn.

Madlib got a lot of hate for under-performing, including some booing and some rather rude , moronic remarks such as "get a life!" or "play the Madvillain tunes!". Possibly being smoked out, most of the time he was scratching meaninglessly for minutes before letting the tune play and then mumble some incomprehensible raps on top.

Now if anyone is interested in my own, strictly personal point of view, here it is: there are some artists that can do whatever the fuck they want. Actually, any artist is free to do what ever the fuck he wants, but some are more easily excused than others - in case one doesn't sympathise with their intentions. Having watched the Chrome Children DVD, i kind of expected more from him. But, again, that's his thing. That's what he did and that's who he is. A smoked out genius that can do whatever the fuck he feels like. I wouldn't expect anyone in the room to get it, including me, cause that stuff really made sense only if you were in the same mind state that he was in. Again, that was his thing and that's what he did. Athens has a long tradition of DJs playing shit and artists under-performing just because they don't give a fuck about a small country in the Balkans, but i don't think that was the case here.


Whatever the case was (and i really don't want to be misjudged as a fanboy here), some people just earn the right to do what they want, based on their creative output. The Aphex Twin is one of them, i feel. Madlib is another. I am just happy i saw him perform in flesh.

9 comments:

oksikemia said...

the exact same thing i was thinking too.. at least we could see THE man in flesh, 10 m from us. but, he owes a good gig to athens!

Anonymous said...

oksi den mporo n afiso comment sto blog sou me kanenan tropo!

eskasa pou den mporousa na pao madlib xthes, opos ki an itan....

oksikemia said...

k egw de metaniwnw se kammia periptwsi, gia 2 logous.
1on giati to show prin to madlib itan gamato
2on giati eida apo konta to madlib, opws akrivws to leei o fantastikos ixos.

an omws eixan paiksei xalia k oi proigoumenoi tha itan mlk.. me tis mpires k tous tarifes mou pige 50 euro, einai polla gia mena mono k mono gia na dw to madlib (h opoion allo) na kanei apla tin kabla tou.

μελ said...

you missed the acid symphony orchestra man.

that was a pity.

grimm said...

kokalo o madlib....megali apogoitefsi...mallon den ixere oti stin kalamata to kladevoun nwris....

nakedsides said...

...

nakedsides said...

oi telitses pane sthn en en logw bradia mate...

James said...

just maybe the "Athens has a long tradition of DJs playing shit and artists under-performing just because they don't give a fuck about a small country in the Balkans" is a self-fulfilling prophecy? a vicious circle of disappointment..

i find it really hard to imagine thinking 'i don't give a fuck' before a gig, but after the first few (or more, depending on the artist's mental health and/or ego) scowls of incomprehension (or the dreaded upward-hand-motion-play-harder-or-cheaper-gesture) that's an easier emotion to imagine. and the scowls of incomprehension etc are more likely if the crowd think the artist doesn't respect them.

Fantastikoi Hxoi said...

vicious circle: could be...


But then, there are so many different types of artists, isn't it? There are the artists who are serious about what they do and respect themselves and their audience, and there are artists who could be shoe salesmen instead of musicians, but they figured out how to use a piece of software instead.


A bad night for a DJ is a bad night, no matter the geographical location. He could be hangovered from the night before, smoked some bad weed, or maybe he feels like shit for his own reason. That's normal. But many times here, that's not the case.

A most recent and valid example was a gig by a very big female radio producer from the UK, hosted some months ago - she played the most obvious, pedestrian, burnt -out, dated tunes she possibly could. And in her style of music, fresh tunes are a necessity i find. That hasn't got anything to do with a bad night or her ego, if she played Sonar for example i feel there would be a next to nothing chance of playing a set like that. I think it's just a matter of "keeping the good stuff for the good gigs" or road-testing some material to play in a big gig, in the best of cases.

Anyway, my main issue was how an audience receives what the artist feels like doing - in Madlib's case that was received in the worst of manners for some reason. I never stood for any of that, whether it is boo-ing or shouting the artist what to play. I have tolerated many awful performances on stage and i've never said a thing, i just walked out when i felt this thing wasn't for me.

As far as your own point of view is concerned, progressing in giant steps is an issue, especially in dance music: from prog to techno to the kraut/experimental path of the last years is not an easy thing for certain people to digest. Especially when they only want to hear stuff from 2005 or something. For some reason, they tend to steer clear from the dancefloor when they hear something challenging, even if it's super danceable. And all these formulaic "techno" releases of the last years won't help towards any other direction. A hard task, spreading good music, but you have some pretty hardcore fans globally, so the situation you describe is not a routine i suppose? :P