Week of Tues., Sept. 08, 2009
September 8, 2009, 5:09 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

9/8 – tuesday september 8th

* Yo La Tengo Release Party and Signing @ D’amelio Terras Gallery (525 W 22nd St) 7p-9p 4 FREE w/ RSVP

* Ice Water Inc & Littles present:RAEKWON Only Built 4 Cuban Linx II @ Santos Party House – 10p 4 $50
live performances by: Ghostface Killah/Method Man/Beanie Sigel/ Talib Kweli/Slick Rick/Busta Rhymes/Lyfe Jennings

* Alice In Chains @ The Fillmore New York at Irving Plaza 8p 4 $35

9/9 – wednesday september 9th

* Andrew Weil, MD: Why Health Matters @ 92nd Street Y (92Y) (1395 Lexington Ave.) 8-930p 4 $27

* N.E.R.D @ WTB Governer’s Island 8p 4 $30

* The Raspberry Brothers Take on The Breakfast Club @ Comix (353 W 14th St.) 9.30p-11p 4 $15 adv/ $20 day

9/10 – thursday september 10th

* The Official Madonna vs. Janet Jackson Dance-off @ Santos Party House

* The Evolution of God: Religion Through the Ages w/ Robert Wright and Bruce Feiler @ 92nd Street Y (92Y) (1395 Lexington Ave.) 8.15p 4 $27

* Raekwon CD Release Party with Special Guest Ghostface Killah @ SOBs (204 Varick St.) 9p 4 $15

<I ‘ve been fortunate enough to not only see the whole Wu Tang Clan before the passing of ODB but also the majority of the main clansmen (Mef, Ghost, GZA, RZA)  on a solo tip.  Raekwon had been one of the main pillars of the Shaolin crew I had yet to catch.  In hindsight, this was probably a good thing because it would have been very hard to top what The Chef was cooking at SOBs tonight.

As soon as you walked in, you could feel that the hip hop vibe was thicker than a Chicago deep dish.  When an iconic hometown emcee is showcasing a project as anticipated as Cuban Linx II you can expect a crowded house of savvy hip hop listeners.  This was evident by the line for line rhyming the crowd had going on as classic Black Moon, Tribe, Clan trax…etc. blasted from the speakers. Each track would inflate the room like a balloon.  You could feel the energy (and the dude next to you brushing up) of a packed house full of mostly males waiting for Shallah’s entrance to blow.  I, like the majority of heads out tonight, had Wu Tang/Rae on the brain and anything else was not going to do.  Therefore, opening the show with a wack ass, ladies man, radio rapper, even if he is signed to Interscope, was not a smart idea.  Hate, hate, hate….

Hot 97’s Peter Rosenberg did an excellent job of hosting the night.  Having interviewed Rae for his 1 on 1 series at Tribeca studios a month ago, then hosting the 1st album release party a week earlier and now closing out the trifecta with tonight’s party – you could tell he not only enjoys Rae music (and hip hop in general) but respects him as a man of his word and craft.  With little lip service, and a surprised look that Chef was actually ready to hit the stage, PR introduced the man of the hour as Producer/DJ Scram Jones confirmed it was ‘on’ by pushing the fader to maximize the boom bip as Rae made his way through the capacity crowd.

Raekwon the Chef slinked on stage dressed in a pencil yellow Champion hood sweat, gold piece swinging like groupsex with 1 (maybe 2) others in the small entourage behind him.  He greeted the crowd with a sincerity rarely heard from cats of his stature.  His stage command was grand but what made it even better was how Rae was purposely being  a champion of the people tonight.  For the people, with the people – not on some ol’ “take it or leave it” sh*t.  He was looking to connect with his fans this evening.  Throughout the night he repeated this appreciation and verbalized how he wants the responsibility of bringing back the glory days of beats, rhymes, mental images and word play.  He talked about the work he had put into this project not only from an artistic angle but in business terms as well.  Remember, Rae basically went independent on this album.  No major label backing really.

The first thing that jumped out at me was how close his voice sounded like to the original recordings.  The familiar vocal tones I’ve been listening to for the past 13 years or so haven’t lost a step.  Not only did he sound great as he poured into the mic, but the fire/passion in his delivery made you believe every rhyme, line and anecdote.  His impeccable flow moved like a linebacker in training camp….fluid, graceful and yet powerful enough to knock your ass back.  The word and syllable combinations rolled of his tongue like water off a duck’s sack.  Give this boy a Snickers because he is HUNGRY.

The top Chef ran through 20+ tracks clocking in a performance time of about 2 hours – leaving no dart un-thrown.  If you missed it…yes, he played your favorite song along with the new ones that are going to become sure favorites in ’09.  Track after track Rae would leave “it” all out there on the stage.  Sweat poured off his bulbous head, drenching his garments and making him glisten in the light.  He was so entranced while spitting his verses that he wouldn’t even lift his hand to use the towel gripped in his meat hook to dry himself off.  He meant B.I.Z….that’s my word.

Another tasty treat (ba dum chh) the Chef was offering tonight was the opportunity for  every single person in the room to walk away with a copy of OBFCLII.  If you didn’t get a free copy with the purchase of your ticket you could’ve still copped a CD for less than it would cost you to pull money from 2 ATM machines…$5.   Well worth it.

I was surprised that Ghostface didn’t make an appearance after having shown up to the 1st album release party AND being announced in the promo material for this one.  However, it wasn’t a complete let down because Rae was doing such a hell of a job carrying the show  – I think the inclusion of his brethren would have taken the shine off the Chef and defeated the whole purpose of why I came out.  In GFK’s place, you had Lyfe Jennings join Rae for a performance of the Dr. Dre produced cut “Catalina” off Linx II.  A 2nd nice surprise was when Wyclef Jean came out to run through a piece of “Sweetest Girl (Dolla Bill)” and then stayed on stage for an off the dome cipher…to which Rae joined in and later said…”Man, I haven’t freestyled in like 15 years”.  But apparently, it’s just like riding a bike.

I saw Raekwon in a new light after tonight.  The hard core persona that he built up (which I believe is based on a real person inside him) melted a bit and allowed you to see a renewed, fierce, approachable, unique emcee focused on creating the best art he can all the while determined to prove he’s worth his weight. This was the perfect way to finish off another exciting summer in the rotten apple.

Oh yea, Nicobra was around here somewhere getting her fever on.  Thanks for letting me steal your CD Nic.  -AV>

Artist/Event = 4.7/5       Location = 3/5

* Murs/John Forte @ Highline Ballroom (431 W 16th St.) 4 $20

9/11 – friday september 11th

* Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs @ City WInery (155 Varick St.) 10p 4 Bar Stools $20 / Reserved Tables $25 / VIP Tables $30

* First Fridays! Caribbean Vibes @ The Bronx Museum of the Arts (1040 Grand Concourse) 6p-10p 4 $ FREE

* The Cult @ Terminal 5 (610 W 56th St.) 7p 4 $35

9/12 – saturday september 12th

* Armin van Buuren @ WTB Governer’s Island 1p-5p $ FREE

* Mos Def @ WTB Governer’s Island 7p $ 40

* Kings of Leon @ Izod Center- 7p 4 $50

* Halcyon 10 Year Anniversary! @ WTB South Street Seaport – noon-2a 4 $5 w/ RSVP or $10 door

* Cantora Presents: Theophilus London, Wild Yaks and Special Guests

* Discovery: VDRK (Free Magic), Snowden (DJ Set)

9/13 – sunday september 13th

* Moving Sounds 2009 Festival w/ Timetable Percussion Trio, DJ Christopher Just, D13, Bernhard Lang @ (Le) Poisson Rouge (158 Bleecker St.) 7p 4 $15

* Martinez Bros. @ WTB LIC -1p-10p 4 $20

* Jedi Mind Tricks/ R.A the Rugged Man @ Highline Ballroom (431 W 16th St.) 9p 4 $19


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