The Rizzle Review: So Solid Reunion Tour!!!

music, Reviews, So Solid Crew, UK stuff

***GUEST REVIEW*** (by @wendiwrites)

As soon as it was announced in January that the So Solid Crew would be putting on a reunion concert, comments on the social networks were split between people being excited about it, and people automatically assuming that it would be a hot ghetto mess.  Fortunately I fell into the former category, and I’m so glad I did!

Doors opened at 7pm and as you’d probably expect, the process of getting into the O2 building itself wasn’t as straight-forward as it was when I came to see New Kids On The Block.  There were police at the top of the escalators at North Greenwich station, then a long queue outside (apparently for those with bags) as well as two police vans on either side of the entrance.  Inside the O2 we had to walk through the metal detectors, then to get into Indigo2 we had to have our bags go through the scanners.  I felt it only right to ask one of the bag check guys if our flight was on schedule.

At around 8.35 the host came on stage to start hyping up the audience, and a short while later he introduced the first of the So Solid Crew, DJ Oxide on the decks.  Oxide took us back to the good old days of UK Garage.  Most of us who were seated on the balcony were on our feet, and those standing on the ground floor just made it look like a rave.  I was in my zone when he played ‘Pulse X’ and ‘I Don’t Smoke The Reefer’ – my jams!!  After that little set, the host came back on to hype us up a little more and then introduced the So. Solid. Crewwwwwwww!

courtesy of pardonmyblog.co.uk

The vocal intro from their 2001 album ‘They Don’t Know’ was played, which then led into the famous sirens from Casualty and then the N the E the U T the R the I N with the O burst on to the stage to perform ‘Bound For The Reload.’  It was on!  (Sidenote: Neutrino’s body now… *fans herself*).  Next we heard the famous beat for ‘Oh No’ and Romeo (who changed his dapper suits about 3 times during the night) and Lisa Maffia came on stage to perform that and the remixed version.  We were bubblin’ hard!  That was followed by Megaman, MAC and Face performing ‘Haters’, then Neutrino coming back for ‘Up Middle Finger’.  Unfortunately they didn’t do the best part of that tune:  “When I say, you say, we say, they say MAKE SOME NOISE!”  Never mind, we were already making noise.  (During this time we spotted Chipmunk at the seats two rows in front of us, and Adam Deacon walking up the stairs on our left side).

Asher D came on to perform ‘Woah’, and other songs featured were ‘Rap Dis,’ (yes Harvey was there too) ‘Since You Went Away,’ ‘So Grimey’ (for which they had three girls dancing on stage, looking like they were pulled from any brothel – a bit random), ‘Deeper,’ ‘No Good 4 Me,’ and ‘Back In The Day.’  Swiss tugged at the heartstrings with his hit ‘Cry’ and JD did ‘Signal,’ then ‘It’s All Over,’ with Lisa Maffia.  Some of the highlights were Chipmunk (one of the special guests) performing a Movado song with Swiss, Megaman introducing us to his lookalike son, and one of my favourite moments; three female dancers performing an African-inspired routine to the instrumental of ‘Dilemma’ (one of the sexiest beats ever!).

However, the best moment came when the crew performed ‘They Don’t Know.’  It was followed by the introduction to the remix ‘Envy’ with Ms Dynamite’s vocals, and excitement was brewing in my belly.  Then Megaman tried to kill it by telling us that she was unable to make it and he wants us to sing her parts in the song, so after a rewind we all sang along with “Why dem all waaatching me/ Is it pure jeaaaalouseee yay..”  When it got to her verse – “When I step up on the microphone/explosive/ people learn to pimp an play like they know dis” – she came out on to the stage and everyone went crazy!  She only performed for that song, but it was a bit of icing on an enjoyable cake.

Of course we all know what the finale song was right?  Just before it started, Mega introduced us to the not-so-little kids we see and hear at the start ’21 Seconds’, then the whole crew came out to perform their number one hit, before closing the show with their ‘ritual’ outro.

The So Solid Crew did not disappoint at all.  They all looked as though they haven’t really aged in the last 10+ years (Skat D seemed to be the only member missing), the good vibe energy were there, and hopefully the police wasted their time that night.

Verdict:  Brrrrrap!

The Rizzle Review: Kanye West at the Hammersmith Apollo

Kanye West, music, Reviews

Two weeks ago saw the announcement that Kanye West was to play a surprise “one-off” gig in London. Fair enough that one-off gig quickly became two which became three before stopping short of a full-on “one-off” World Tour…but I digress. Having not seen Kanye West perform solo since 2005, I purchased tickets to the Sunday concert with all the swiftness of a Kim Kardashian marriage (that’s very fast).

However, the night before the Sunday show, reports quickly began to emerge via twitter that Kanye had been showing erratic behaviour during the show, ranting against the Grammy’s (even though he’s won about 12 of them), dissing Justin Timberlake’s suit and tie and (perhaps my favourite) ending the concert part way through the Goldigger verse; “…and on his 18th birthday, she found out he wasn’t his”. With all that being said, I was pretty eager to hear what kind of show we’d be treated to on the following night.

The scene was set, covered in a white backdrop with a white sloped stage, the DJ’s built up the atmosphere playing tracks from Kanye’s Good Friday’s series before the main man himself slowly emerged from just behind the stage to “Way Too Cold (Theraflu)”. The crowd erupted, as did Kanye and it was pretty certain that this was going to be a show to remember, whether good, bad or ugly.

Kanye rattled through his substantial catalogue of hits in quick succession with minimal crowd interaction but maximum energy before disappearing off stage briefly. Emerging in a more somber mood wearing a bird mask, the show took on a different route. Kanye began rattling off songs from his “love it or hate it” 808’s and Heartbreaks album. It’s clearly evident that while this isn’t his most universally loved body of work (to put it mildly), Kanye definitely loves performing from it. And let’s ignore the fact that Kanye can’t sing.

Another thing that Kanye loves? Singing. Kanye went through the extended album version of Runway in true prog-rock style, stretching the song to roughly 10 mins. For the crowd at the front this became slightly uncomfortable, with people exchanging awkward glances as if to say “has this dude finished yet?”.

(pic from: thatretailchick.me)

Another mask change came later, this time with a diamond encrusted piece for Rihanna’s “Diamonds (remix)”. Good job the songs were good because at this stage, he’s erring on the wrong side of crazy, without going full throttle. However, we didn’t have to wait long for the next installment…

The encore song was “Touch The Sky” but as the song drew to a close Kanye started wailing like a banshee. The first couple of times it was cool. 8 screams in and it got a little awkward once again, before Kanye drops the mic on the floor and walks off stage.

How times have changed since I last saw Kanye at the same venue all those years ago. He’d shown glimpses of the ego that would eventually become his trademark (I seem to remember a rant on stage at the show where he lay on the floor just talking about the tabloids) but I wasn’t prepared for the mammoth fame that would come with his success and neither, it seems, was he.

Kanye definitely knows how to put on a good show. With no hype man in sight and with less extravagance than the Glow in the Dark or even the Watch The Throne tours, Mr West still managed to keep the crowd’s attention, even if for long periods they didn’t know what was going on. Kanye maintained creative control of the show throughout, ushering one of his stagehands away as they went to take away one of his masks and halting “All of The Lights” when he felt that the crowd weren’t rapping loud enough over the ‘MJ gone…our n*gga dead” part.

His choice of attire? A pristine white strait-jacket. Tongue in cheek? I’d like to think so. I really would like to think so. So that brings us to the scream at the end? To a seasoned Anguish at Amber Rose and Wiz Khalifa’s new born? Sorrow at Kim Kardashian trapping him? Anger at the Grammys? Or just attention seeking. I suspect it’s probably the last one but whichever reason it ultimately proves to be, like the concert itself, it is something that will keep his fans wondering and entertained for years to come.