Community Skratch Games 2015

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The 9th annual Community Skratch Games is set to take place in Bierhaus, Galway April 4th & 5th. DJ Chile will open the festival at 5pm on Saturday. Also that day will play host to Clerk 5 and Same D4ence, young Clare DJ Daithi Curtin, as well as Rusangano Family, an act who we have been following for a while now and who only continue to astound us with every concert/album release. Sunday will also see Naive Ted, Djackulate, Danny Deepo, Noid the Droid and Zinc all playing different sets as well as countless other acts throughout the weekend.

All that and we haven’t even mentioned the main event, the Community Skratch Games Open Freestyle Battle Royale. Previous editions have featured total novices and battle veterans, young upstarts battling alongside world champions. All for a bag of meat. And this year, for the first time ever, a really fancy skratch crossfader from Pro X Fade

Performances begin at 5pm each day and admission is free (though donations are welcome and encouraged!).

Full line-up:

DJ Chile – Naive Ted – Handsome Paddy
Rusangano Family – KOI>3.2^6
Lewis James & Rick Soul – Noid the Droid
Wat Tyler’s Soundcard (Jimmy Hatetank, Jimmy Penguin & DJ Chile)
Zinc – Christine Kelly – JusMe – Clerk 5 – Nyt Bloomer
Danny Deepo – Djackulate – Darcy, Symatic & Kutclass
Same D4ence – Daithi Curtin

Smoke DZA Interview

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Smoke DZA is set to embark on his first ever European tour this month and we got to catch up with the Harlem rapper to ask him about his experiences attending and performing gigs. For a full list of tour dates see below.

-What was the first concert you ever attended?

“The first concert I went to was a New Edition Concert at the Apollo, very random hahaha but I was there.”

-What is the best hip hop show you’ve seen and why? 

“That’s such a hard question to answer. I’ve been to so many great hip hop shows but I can honestly say the best hip hop shows for me are the ones that I actually was apart of & learned from; watching Wiz, Big K.R.I.T, Currensy, and Method Man live every night how they worked the crowd and make people engage in their set I was able to take bits from each of them and apply to my own show so those guys shows are the best hip hop shows to me.”

-Do you like to smoke during shows?

“During, After, Before its a Marathon hahaha”

-Do you take time out to interact with fans while touring?

“Always! My fans mean everything to me touring and outside of touring. I give everyone their moment if you love me I love you. I appreciate the fact that my fans grow with me.”

-Even though you have been doing shows for a while now, do you still get nervous before you go on?

“Yup. It’s natural tho I’m nervous before I’m out there because I’m very hard on myself about making sure my set is tight but once I’m out there it’s gametime.”

-What is the best show you’ve ever played?

“I’ve had so many great shows but one of my best shows was at Sob’s performing with Ski Beatz and the live band was amazing. The crowd and myself thoroughly enjoyed it.”

-What is the worst show you’ve ever played and why?

“One of the worst shows I ever played was some random part of Ohio the promoters were Z-class, the venue was shit and I had to almost throw this bastard through a wall to get paid. There you have it. Haha”

-Is this your first time to headline shows in certain parts of Europe?

“Yes! I’m very excited about this. I get to touch my fans in Europe embrace their culture and bring them into my world. It’s gonna be fun.”

-Does touring become tedious after extended periods of time?

“Definitely. Being away from my wife and kids and my family sucks but it’s all worth it in the quest of being great.”

-What is the best thing about performing in front of a crowd?

“Being able to entertain them and leaving with new fans that maybe wasn’t familiar with you.”

-What is your favourite song to perform?

“City Of Dreams.”

26 January Melkweg, Amsterdam, Netherlands

27 January The Jazz Cafe, London, UK

28 January La Bellevilloise, Paris, France

31 January Club Bahnhof Ehrenfeld – Cbe Köln, Cologne, Germany

01 February Yip Yab, Munich, Germany

04 February B72, Vienna, Austria

05 February Prince Charles, Berlin, Germany

10 February The Sugar Club, Dublin, Ireland

12 February Stereolux, Nantes, France (with Blackalicious)

by Ross Logan

Mos Def to play Vicar Street

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Hidden Agenda presents Yasiin Bey a.k.a Mos Def live in Vicar Street on November 24th. One of the greatest emcees of all time is touring to celebrate the 15th anniversary of his debut album ‘Black On Both Sides’. This will be his second show ever in the country & it is definitely a must see for any hip hop fan. Tickets are €33.50 & go on sale October 24th.

Also coming up from Hidden Agenda is Run the Jewels live in the Opium Rooms December 21st, tickets are €18.

Chali 2na of Jurassic 5 with live band & J Rocc DJ set

Choice Cuts presents Chali 2na with a live band in the Sugar Club November 14th. The baritone ambassador of Jurassic 5 is returning with his solo show after two sold out shows with the group in Dublin this June. Tickets are €20 and grants you access to the after party which will feature a DJ set from Stones Throw artist J Rocc. Tickets can be purchased separately for J Rocc for €12.50.

Hip hop legend Talib Kweli also plays the Sugar Club December 10th, tickets are €22.50.

Tickets available from www.tickets.ie

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oldskool: The Evolution of Hip Hop

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oldskool are a 7 piece band with both male and female rappers and a scratch DJ. They have sold out shows in Whelans, The Sugar Club and performed on the main stage of The Barndance Festival 2013. Their last show was also a sellout, in which they covered Snoop Dogg’s classic Doggystyle in it’s entirety. They are set to return to the Sugar Club on October 4th with their Evolution of Hip Hop show. This will presumably touch on all the eras of hip hop, you don’t want to miss this!

Tickets – €14 from http://www.oldskool.ie

Doors 9pm, with guest DJ sets from Choice Cuts & DJ Scorpio

Mobb Deep, Voodoo Lounge 1/8/14

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Just under two years ago it was uncertain if the two members of Mobb Deep were on speaking terms. Prodigy was just finished a 3 year prison stint for weapon possession, during which Havoc had been tweeting argumentative statements, claiming his associate was “gay for stay”. With such a heavy gangster reputation surrounding the two, this could have been career ending. However, following their impromptu reconciliation they released The Infamous Mobb Deep in April, to coincide with the 20th anniversary of their second and most critically acclaimed album, The Infamous.  In many ways their new material is easily comparable to their live show as both only give you a small glimpse into how good Mobb Deep actually were.

The levels of anticipation and excitement were raised to an almost hostile level during an extended wait for the group to appear. Usual hip hop crowd-pleasers from the DJ were not met with the joyous reaction that is to be expected. After being promised an 11 o clock performance, it looked as if it may not happen at all and rightfully so, the crowd grew restless.

Just after midnight Havoc and Prodigy both appear on stage in a cloud of smoke to perform a frankly dull rendition of the classic, ‘Survival of the Fittest’. Energy levels from the two are raised during ‘Taking You off Here’ & ‘Say Something’, showing they still have the hunger to try to win over the crowd with the more unfamiliar new material. It is surprising that quite a few older songs don’t translate very well to the stage. The once venomous ‘Right Back at You’ falls flat as they must cast aside their laidback, murderous flow in order to be heard on the microphone.

With their previous beefs, along with Prodigy being diagnosed with sickle cell, it is a huge surprise to see the group perform together. All things considered, it was not a completely lacklustre performance. Obvious encore ‘Shook Ones Pt 2’ provides a brief insight into how a mid-90s Mobb Deep show might have felt, which was more like the best house party you’ve ever been to, rather than a slightly disappointing night out.

-Ross Logan

Grandmaster Flash, The Village 4 May

Grandmaster Flash is one of the pioneers of hip hop DJing and his songs such as ‘The Message’ helped to elevate hip hop music to a new level in the early 80s. It was safe to say that I wasn’t sure what to expect from this set but I knew it would be something special. The oddest thing about the night for me was the starting time, as doors were at 11 and Flash himself didnt make an appeanance to closer to half 12, but this is to be expected at certain hip hop shows. The support act was a DJ and a rapper playing a mix of originals and a few classics such as ‘Hip Hop’ by Dead Prez & ‘The Next Episode’ by Dr. Dre. They had some success in getting people ready for the show, my only problem was that they played some songs that Grandmaster Flash also played in his set. A support act like this should know what to expect from the main act and try their best to refrain from playing some of the same songs if at all possible.

Perhaps people who had bought their ticket to see a Grandmaster Flash show, expecting him to be rapping along to his songs, may have been slightly disappointed but, there is no denying that for only €15 it is a great night out and you will probably hear at least 4 of your favorite songs. To try and give a list of every song that he played would be impossible but the artists played throughout the night included Wu Tang Clan, Eminem, Dr. Dre, DJ Kool & various other hip hop acts. It was a great chance to hear those certain songs that don’t get the airplay at hip hop nights throughout Dublin for whatever reason.

Unfortunately the only other DJ set that I can compare to this is Madlib’s a couple of weeks ago in the Sugar Club. Although they are both hip hop DJs, there is a great contrast between their shows. Madlib caters to the sample lovers and his select fan base, whereas a Grandmaster Flash set feels more like going to a house party or a club night. Not to take anything away from Madlib’s set because it was brilliant, but Flash definitely has the ‘party over here, fuck you over there’ mentality down to a t. Closing with his classic hit ‘ White Lines’, it was about half 2 in the morning before he actually left the stage which was a nice change of pace to the usual over by 11 o’ clock type gig. I would recommend this show highly to any hip hop fan for a night out and anyone with a love for DJ sets as his is one of the best around.

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.

Earl Sweatshirt, The Academy 26 March

Two nights ago, Earl Sweatshirt played the Academy in Dublin, his first solo show in Ireland since his return from a boarding school in Samoa. He has played here with Tyler, The Creator at an Eminem show last August but this is different as this is the first time we finally got to see Earl on stage by himself, performing solo material. As a huge Odd Future fan, I’ve been waiting for this show for about 3 years and I remember seeing the group in the Academy in 2011 and throughout the gig the fans were chanting ‘free Earl’ and they even ended the show with his self titled song. The hype that was built up around this time worked as a blessing and a curse for Earl, as he arrived back to Los Angeles with a horde of fans waiting for him, as well as a huge reputation to live up to. This gig definitely showcased the skills that he has gained since his return in 2012.

The night started off with Irish hip hop group, the Animators taking to the stage, playing for about 30 minutes. They have a great onstage chemistry and they definitely made the most of this opportunity, gaining many new fans in the process. They are, in my opinion, Ireland’s greatest hip hop act. They clearly have quite a lot of fun on stage, cracking jokes amongst themselves and the crowd and I believe it is their chemistry as a group that will be the secret to their success. Good examples of this working in the past are the Wu Tang Clan and Odd Future themselves. With the right team of promoters and support slots like this I can see the Animators going a lot further than most previous Irish hip hop acts.

Lucas Vercetti, you may remember his face from album covers and hoodies is Earl’s DJ for the night and he hits the stage to spin a few songs to get everyone warmed up. He does a good job in getting the crowd moving but it isn’t until he plays instrumental track 523, that the excitement really starts to build. Earl hits the stage, opening with Kill from his first album and it is at this moment I saw what the crowd was really capable of. Almost every person in the building is either moshing, dancing, screaming or trying their best to get a look at Earl as he storms from one stage side to the other. It is very clear that a lot of the people here are diehard fans who need no winning over, but are simply glad to see him back and doing what he does best.

When examining this gig, it is important to realise that Earl’s first live performance was in New York to a sold out crowd of Odd Future fans, all trying to reassure themselves that he was actually back with the group. It would be daunting as an 18 year old, at the time to have that much hype surrounding you, with only an 8 track mixtape under your belt. Looking back on footage from that concert now, it is great to see how much Earl has grown as not just a rapper but a performer. Instead of having his face buried into a microphone, he spits his lyrics with venom, rarely missing a beat and often going acapella at the end of songs. As people in the crowd shout every single word back to him he just looks up and smiles, continuing to play old and new songs such as ‘Hive’, ‘Whoa’ and ‘Couch’. It is nice to see him having such a good time performing, as he is now past the stage of being over whelmed by his fame and is now welcoming it with open arms. This was never more evident than when the crowd begins an ‘olé’ chant and he takes it all in, watching everyone and saying that it makes him feel like a warlord. Although this may not be true, it is very clear that if he was going to battle that everyone in the Academy would swear their allegiance to him and go to war.

 

MF DOOM, The Sugar Club 23 March

Elusive & mysterious rapper, MF DOOM played The Sugar Club in Dublin this past Sunday and although he may be known for being less than reliable when it comes to live performances, he put on a fantastic show. Due to a couple of dodgy booking agencies, DOOM has supposedly sent imposters in his place to a couple of his scheduled appearences in this past, so this left us all wondering if he would show up and whether or not it would actually be him. This is of course a man who has a lyric, “he plots shows like robbiers, in and out, 1, 2 ,3 nobody’s pleased.” Luckily for us, this wasn’t the case.

Opening act Mobonix hit the stage about 9.15, playing for about 20 minutes. He did a great job in getting the crowd to the stage and getting people moving. His style was perfect as a opener for an MF DOOM gig, as he bounced in between lyrics with a style similar to Mos Def over some of DOOM’s own beats from his instrumental series, Special Herbs & Spices 0-9. He also kept moving between the stage and the merchandise stand to get more of his CD’s to throw out for free, a good tactic to guarantee that people will still remember you the next day and you don’t fade into support act obscurity.

By the time Mobonix left the stage, the crowd was well and truly warmed up and ready for DOOM. After a half hour wait the buzz within the crowd was starting to die down and after another half an hour, they were getting restless. For some, it didn’t look like it was going to happen as it was approaching 10.30 and his live drummer was standing beside the stage with as much of a clue as we did on the villain’s whereabouts. After a long 5 minute wait, there was a lot of movement by the door and the drummer took to the stage for DOOM’s entrance. I have to say that the addition of this drummer to the show is what makes this such a unique experience as he rarely stops playing throughout the entire 60 minute set.

DOOM and his hype man, Big Ben Klingon finally hit the stage and spent about 10 minutes warming up the crowd, cracking jokes and throwing high fives, while the drummer played some instrumentals. This may have gone on a tad long as it was just an hour’s set, but DOOM is clearly a man who does what he wants, how he wants, which is a lot more than most artists can say. Opening his set with ‘Hoe Cakes’ was a great choice and other older tracks like ‘One Beer’ and ‘Rhymes Like Dimes’ went down very well. A lot of the set list was composed from DOOM and producer Madlib’s classic album Madvillainy, which turned 10 years old this week. ‘Curls’ and ‘Figaro’ were personal highlights for me

My only problem with the show is that with such a vast discography, he has many songs that would have gone down a treat that he chooses not to play. We heard most of the classics but I’m sure that myself and several others would have lost our minds hearing ‘Absolutely’ or ‘Beef Rapp’. However, for someone who is such a veteran at this stage, he performs with the same enthusiasm and charisma as an energetic beginner. It is clear that he has perfected his act to the way he wants it and luckily for us, he is having trouble getting home to the U.S, so hopefully there will be a few more DOOM gigs in the future, before he retires and “sits up somewhere in the sun and breath fire”. It was definitely one of my favourite and most enjoyable shows that I’ve ever been to, but then again it’s not every day that you get a salute from the villain himself.