Monday, May 15, 2006


steve, graham, julian and justine, their mates pete and suzie, and i all took a few metal petals to the head on saturday night. it was NINJA TUNE's 10th anniversary in Montreal held at metropolis, the principle venue hall for strolling minstrels and pop-royalty. we met with isabel and her roommate of yore, hillary, at the foufs, seeing them off to their The Stills show. as a group, we resonated with collective quivers of anticipation. the line-up: Blockhead (a hip-hoppier Bonobo. only comparison i can really make there) with DJ signify, KID KOALA, and Coldcut. now, some might scoff, but this represents a significant tour de force, in both market power and musical innovation, and maybe one of the most mentionable labels of the last baker's decade. and the ticket price reflected that (a veritable skinning), but it was well worth it. the place was about as packed as it could get, without being an Our Lady Piece of Fecal Vomit concert (die already, OLP) and excitement ran very high. Blockhead played a few of his tunes from Downtown Science and Music by Cavelight, with Signify scratching atop. it was a good set, and engaging. the incredible happened though when Kid Koala was released onto the stage: a wee man, he humbly adjusted his dj dais in the dark (he needed a bit of a vertical boost) and touched each of his four (!!!) turntables ritualistically. he said hello and then morphed into a blur of virtuoso. i think i blacked out, but i'll recount what i remember. alternating between cheeky tongue-on-teeth grins, licked fingers and the occasional giggle as picked up by his mic, he switched between collector's esoterica and notable pop songs of the last few years, playing THROUGH each one, layering rhythms to the point that each song was perverted into a massive, and weighty, merging pudding.. the sound fidelity was astonishing. he closed by attributing a song to his mum (mother's day and all), where he played Moonriver against itself (he may have even had 3 copies playing at one time, inserting a percussive kicker towards the end). the only other prop he had on stage was a towel (if he'd only bottle his sweat, i'd definitely make lemonade with it). best set i've ever seen, bar none. 'super-scratchuated' as graham aptly put it.
Coldcut came on, as only they could, they are the mainstream sound of ninja tune, basically maintaining status quo without straying too far from fomula. as steve said, how can you hope to follow the kid? it was flashy stuff. big ol' beats and a video formula that kept your eyes wide. highlights: whilst there was scratching galore, one trick i'd never seen live (though it sounds obvious enough) was the juggling of the image to each sound clip. for example, an angus young VS. jimmy hendrix guitar-battle (who HASN'T wondered about that one?), or Prince Charles popping and locking. Fun.
Then we went to the afterparty, courtesy of pete, who interns at the ninja. it was a funny little affair, astoundingly pretty girls, and a few of the bigwigs wondering around. i could only really manage an obsequious goggle at some of them, which is silly, as, to our credit, we don't usually get THAT overwhelmed by someone's notoriety. the music at the afterparty was a bit of a ninja preschool (like watching the bluebelts spar) and not that amazing (obviously, there wasn't 20,000 watts of sound anymore, more like 500). but we'd been wiped clean by the kid, who we spent most of our time scouting for. i found out yesterday that he didn't even make it in, the bouncers told him to go away (i think we took his armband), which if i was ninja chief, i'd have the bouncer's job for. even amon tobin had to hustle to get in. we definitely did not belong there, no matter how much at one point in our lives we wanted to. and now i can't frigging get Coldcut and Mr. Manuva's 'True Skool' out of my head (you know that spot where the likes of REM and Joan Osborne have mind-raped you for hours at a time, right in there). it'll be one of those ubiquitous summer songs, you can just tell.

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To reiterate a question from a few months ago, what is it about girls and Sublime songs?
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Something quite sad is happening, that I'm not really ready to talk about, but my roommates and their friends are all packing up to go back to their respective countries. I miss Miss Amy Baty so much already. I'll set up a shrine for them all when I get the piccies in.
@ @ @
I haven't forgotten about you, I'm just staggeringly stubborn when it comes to riddles like yours. A shared memory like Marc Guillet deserves as much deductive credence as possible. Though I must admit, I ALMOST give up.
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If you do happen to read this, thank you very much Lynn (one of my favourite reads of the genre ever) for writing back. Very informative resources those, answering questions I didn't even know I had. Ta for that. If only Christopher Walken had been as considerate.


pagno said...

sounds like kid koala was full on tits to the wind. how i wish i'd been there.

i realize that i sound like i'm fourteen, but i'm going to say this anyway...

brad nowell has such an ultra hot voice that when you mentioned sublime i felt a magnetic force pulling me to his defence. he just sounds like a total dude. it's definitely got something to do with his reggae-sexy-rock sound. maybe it's timbre. maybe it's something as animal as his intermittent ha-ing and hu-ing. or maybe it's the barking (bull?) dog that brings out the protect me i'm a weak female vibe. perhaps that he died of an overdose sets up some perverse motherly 'i could have saved you' thing. or maybe it's the espagnol, or the lyrics about being caressed down...

it's not that his music is so innovative or original. but it IS a total turn on. mind you, i speak for myself. do other girls really feel the same?

S'Mat said...

amyable! koala tits to the wind! he'd've grabbed the nipples too and twiddled them into new meaning. he definitely remixed our faces.

brad nowell. i think my perplexity is probably poorly disguised envy. i do like sublime. but every time i've listened to it, it kind of got drowned out by watching other people listen to it. and the heaviest fans, ecstasy eyed croon-alongers always seemed to be girls. i see him now for the sexy, passionate man i wish i were (pre-overdose). thanks for the breakdown.

Isabel Brinck said...

oh you're just begging: you sexy, passionate man, you.