Live at The Library on Saturday, 2nd May 2015
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think it was Heraclitus who, in some form, originally said "one cannot step into the same river twice." This pre-Socratic aphorism is outlining the idea that really, change is constant and that the river, whilst laying on the same bed, has entirely different contents. That is to say, the watery bit that is actually the river has altered completely, but just inhabits the same part of the land. When Richard of the 360 Club offered me a change in music but still at the same place, promising me hip hop as a deviation from the norm, I was enticed. See, same river bed, different river. It all ties in.
First off for the night were the Ceiling Demons, an alternative hip hop group emanating from the North side of Yorkshire. Born out of the tragedy of a close friend, the tributary aspect of their music permeated throughout their whole back catalogue, even in to their new songs. Because of this, their sound and lyricism was genuinely hard hitting, and dare I say it, heartfelt. The rawer side of emotion was ostensible through every song, leaving us with a stark rendition of completely original work with an original sound. The production and mixing was, for me, the highlight. Their song 'Every Step is Moving Me Up' showcases the effort put into the recording and crafting of the musical element. Moreover, the twin brother frontmen combo' was fantastic; electric, with a high energy, leaving us with a compelling live show. Not the norm, perhaps, but as a collective that have already been spied for great things by the most reputable of sources, I wouldn't be surprised if most people have heard of them in a few years. For fans of UK hip hop, I would highly recommend a listen to this truly alternative take, even if only a visit to their Soundcloud.
The next on the set list was another insight into the hip hop sound beginning to permeate the North. Terra-ist, another alternative hip hop act were set to impress, but this time with a sound interwoven more with a scatty, dub reverberation. The bass was heavy with funky undertones, thus meaning the live show was loud, chaotic but wholly enjoyable. Personally, the sound of this band excited me. To fully display what I am trying to say, no other way is as fitting as to simply have a listen. Hush, for example, utilises the aesthetic and spine of dub, overlayed with a simple dubstep framework, but ices it with differing vocal pitches and meaningful lyrics, including junglist MC flows, and ergo, it creates a nothing short of mesmerising, oddly anthemic what could only be called a dub tune. Truly unexpected, but exciting all the same. The other end of their sound seems to be a more fragmented, trip hop sound, obvious in Kill, Be Killed or Die! A personal recommendation from me these lot, for sure.
Following on from that were Fold, another hip hop collective, but this time working heavily with funk and an extensive use of samples. Something to note, which is highly impressive, is the live reproduction of their songs; all songs are performed live, rather than just a backing track with performed vocals, putting them instantly above the majority of hip hop artists; they naturally cultivate a smashing live show which was obvious, at least to me, from the outset. Their new single, Two Past Midnight, a dedication to the great Fannie Lou Hamer, the stalwart of the Black vote in Mississippi throughout the 1960s, went down a storm. A big name to live up to, but it was expertly sampled, with the non-musical, speech elements woven in subtly to make some awesome, awesome songs. A song which I, hand on heart, have been listening to repeatedly since the gig, Don't Kid Yourself, from the Two Past Midnight release is a direct hark back to the funk that we so loved. Exuding that oh so street and fiendishly stylish 1970s feel, this song played right into my hands; it immediately conjured up an all time funk favourite of mine, This Is It, by the Betty Davis. Fold, and the sound they managed is one which is so strongly stylised and reminiscent of that urban, sexy and debonair 70's Harlem and Greenwich Village aura; a predecessor to the great era of the New York club scene and disco culture. In turn, therefore, I was really taken aback. To manage to recreate this oft-thought dead sound is nothing short of a miracle, and thus they have gained a loyal, loyal follower. For what it's worth, you know. For fans of instrumental hip hop, anything resembling funk, from George Benson to James Gilstrap, new music, or just fun in general, try these guys for size. You shall not be disappointed.
To conclude that evening's abnormal affairs were Rawschac, an expertly named band, with the immediate connotation showing us that this band were not one to be superficial, but a band with genuine meaning and intent. The wordplay involving 'raw' definitely seemed appropriate, with the contrasting vocals instantly grabbing attention. By pairing lower, rap lyrics with a chordal and marginally ethereal singing voice, it meant their live set was captivating. Their duality and decent song writing allowed complements from a well rehearsed guitarist whom picked with dedication and impetus; this meant that all together, the experience was glaringly obvious. They performed a yet unnamed new single, which, when named I'm sure will get them thousands of new fans. They also displayed some older work, a song entitled Cavemen worth noting. Their experience was clear, as well as an extensive catalogue of work, and thus an impressive act made it four out of four for good bands for the evening.
Another successful trip to the same old place, but, alas, not to be bored by the same ol', same old. Hurrah.
Hip Hop fuelled verses, beefy grimy bass,heavy hitting drums and rocked up gritty vocals.
Based in Leeds Fold is a live downtempo / trip-hop 4 piece. Integrating spoken word samples in experimental ways their songs reflect some of the heavier stuff going on in the world without being preachy.
RAWSCHAC's music is a grungy soulful alternative-hip-hop sound, driven by thumping basslines, phat guitar melodies and energetic vocals.