DJ Shadow @ Brooklyn Bowl – 11/16/10
December 2, 2010, 2:38 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Ok, so he has gotten a lot of flack for having had such a musical creative gap and subsequent turnaround from what the world was “Endtroduced” to with his (literally) groundbreaking, record setting (he is in Guinness) debut EP and that of his later audible outputs.

I can’t front…I might have just been one of those Silky Johnstons yelling “hate, hate, hate” at the time.

But one line from an interview I read cleared it all up…

“Repeat Endtroducing over and over again? That was never, ever in the game plan. Fuck that. So I think it’s time for certain fans to decide if they are fans of the album, or the artist.” -DJ Shadow

That’s what’s up…ironically, his older/original style may have a leg up on his newer productions but you still have to respect the artist.  Plus, some newer tracks bang like a hammer anyway…so just chill.

BK Bowl is a very cool venue.  The fact that its still spanking new contributes to that by providing a clean and up kept environment while still giving it that barn house vibe.  However, having bowling lanes next to a BBQ restaurant which itself is juxtaposed to the performance space sounds a little more convoluted than necessary.  But…some how it works.  Huh. Go figure.

I wish I hadn’t read a blog post that had reviewed Shadow’s previous day’s performance because they had posted pics and vids of his set up.  I would have loved to have been surprised at game time.  Fortunately, the pictures didn’t do the scenery justice because up close and personal it was about 10 times more impressive.

The name of this mini tour was called ShadowSphere.  Bwahahaha!  And the concept was brilliant!

Shadow’s team had put together a hollowed-out globe 7 feet high made out of some sort of canvas.  This same canvas material was also used as a backdrop whose purpose was to be used as a movie screen with video projections bombing the stage from various angles to create an explosion of sights and sounds on every square inch of the surface.

The concept was fresh in its simplicity.

The success or failure of the presentation however was going to lie on the style, images and flow of moving pictures over the beats.

Amazing!  The timing of the images were completely in sync with what was coming out of the speakers.  It was like a schizoid, Clockwork Orange scene with my senses being overloaded by every frame AND bassline.  From incoherent images, music video clips from official releases to real life images with common spherical themes, I was finding it hard to blink because I didn’t want to miss a sliver of action.

Half way through his run, in true Wizard of Oz style, Shadow spun the globe around to reveal that the circle was actually chopped in almost half.  You could see the man standing inside the cut out sphere surrounded by a plethora of black boxes that were either emitting a blue-ish glow or had more blinking lights than a Christmas tree.

Technically, Shadow was as sharp as a shank.  Even though he kept it all CDJ (no vinyl tonight) he was showing AND proving by cutting and scratching at almost every turn.  He would flawlessly mix BPMs, trigger loops, effects and chop up bars to rearrange the start and stop points to his liking on the fly; demonstrating why he is one of the best sampling musicians on the planet.

All the joints were there:  Organ Grinder, Six Days, Pharcyde remix, a lil D n’ B double step, Enuff (remix)…etc.  His deep knowledge of musical styles, the ability to produce tracks/albums from scratch (no pun intended, <bad um chh>) and his high skill level at DJing allowed him to make tonight’s set a perfect amalgam of what he is about.  It was WELL worth the price of admission.

Yea, he has a chip on his shoulder, can be condescending to fans and critics on occasion but he never apologizes for how he chooses to express himself and in the end that is why we (some of us) love him.

I, for one, am a fan of the ARTIST not just ‘an’ album (but boyyyy do I LOVE me some Entroducing).



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