Madlib, The Sugar Club 17 April

American producer, DJ, rapper and musician Madlib has acquired many names for himself across the years including Tha Beat Konducta, Quasimoto, Madvillain (with DOOM) & Jaylib (with J Dilla). Even though he has become one of the most respected and admired hip hop producers of our time, he calls himself a DJ above all else. I had never actually bought a ticket for a DJ set before so this was a first time experience for me and I was intrigued at how it differs from your average gig. The main difference was the length of this show in comparison to others. Madlib played a solid 2 & a half hours, whereas most hip hop shows average at about an hour. Fair enough a DJ set may take less physical effort than your average rap show but it is nice to go to see one and not leave almost an hour after first getting there.

Kicking off with some hip hop including some Quasimoto, Mos Def, Lootpack & Mobb Deep, the first thing that caught my attention was the bass. I’ve been to many, many gigs, featuring artists from most genres of music but I have never before in my life felt bass like this and when you were sitting down you could feel it from your head to your toe, vibrating throughout your body. This is a clear instance in which I would prefer a DJ set to an average concert, not just for the bass, but also the clarity of the sound in general is a lot better than at most gigs.

After playing some tracks from his most recent collaborative album with Freddie Gibbs, ‘Pinata’, he played some rare/unreleased Madvillain tracks, which I suspect will be featured on the much anticipated sequel to their critically acclaimed debut Madvillainy. This alone for me was worth my ticket price in as it is unknown when we might actually get to hear these tracks again. Playing for as long a time as he did, Madlib did a great job in keeping the quite varied groups of people in the crowd happy. After a solid hour of hip hop, he began to switch it up a bit, drifting between soul, jazz and funk samples like it was nothing, giving us just a brief glimpse into what how he makes the beats he does.

Overall, it was an incredibly enjoyable show to watch as we got a 2 & a half hour trip into the mind of Madlib, Lord Quas, or whatever you want to call him. My only fault with the show is that there could have been a bit more interaction with the crowd, but I understand that it is a DJ set, so we are there to hear the music, not listen to him talk. It has opened up my eyes to how good a DJ set can really be and I’ll definitely be attending some more in the near future, including Grandmaster Flash on Sunday May 4th, which will be our next review.