Review: Jeremih — Don’t Tell Em’ Tour @ The Grand, Wellington

Gigs, Music, Review

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The best part Wellington clubbers could learn from the Jeremih show on Wednesday night was; just because a woman whose a stranger to a man whose a stranger to that woman are getting down like they’re about to get it on — don’t mean they have to feel shame or get married, you don’t even have to know each others names…

I liked that.

The difference between Jeremih and say Mario’s last-minute, tour off the back of Australia, sell them cheap tickets and perform for 15 minute set, was the music quality.

Yes it’s pop/R&B. But there’s a section in Jeremih’s approach that steers him well away from other C-grade artists touring AUS and NZ recently. Listen to Late NYC. Then listen to All About You.  Then play ‘Birthday Sex’ on Jeremih….just for the fuck of it.

Some criticisms I’ve heard about the night is that they came out too late and people had work the next day; I’d also heard people say that the Grand is a dodgy venue to be at. TBH I really like the wood and brick interior, the balcony makes smoking convenient and when you’re peoples are all in there turning up, who cares where you’re at right?

Wellington needs to get behind these gigs more so Shan and Raw can keep bringing us more MUSIC like Jeremih. All too often I tell people what I did on a Wednesday night or the weekend and the answer I get is “Huh? I didn’t even know they were here”. (Freddie Gibbs, Bone Thugs, Lloyd).

The best part about going to a show held by Shan And Raw is the non-pretense; there’s a filtering system in the nature of their shows thats dictates: you come if you come and want to see the act because they’re good and that’s the bottom line; all the technical skill required to put on a 100-type show is there when these guys do it. The openers are chosen specifically (Jesse Antonio, Ray Tait – MMA). The DJ’s hold it down and set it off in between sets, in particular DJ Gooda, Marek and DJ Raw.

What’s needed is more attendance and open-mindedness at these shows. More foot traffic gives the promoters more options regarding who they can bring.

Who knows, maybe ‘International Wednesdays’ can become a permanent thing. $30 – $40 to see Jeremih is all good really. Personally, I’d like to see August Alsina before I die, or even before 2014 is done and then it would be moved to James Cabaret anyway. Not to mention, if we can build the momentum and really get into it, artists like Jeremih might be able to pre-know that Late NYC would be a joint we’d actually want to hear live in the middle of the club as opposed to a straight commercial set, maybe.

When DJ Gooda went to New York he said what he noticed about their clubs there is the party-goers ability to still get down to a slow beat and then take their energy back up again as the DJ’s set travelled along peaks and falls. Welly has different pockets of hip hop and R&B lovers who party separately but love the same music. We’re not too cool to open our minds and take the dance/hip hop/party scene up a couple notches…Are we? Surely not.

Check out our Chicago photo essay by Sara Coe. 

Review: Third3ye @ The Kings Arms, Auckland

Gigs, Music, Review

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Welcome to the temple: Third3ye’s album release party.

By Liam Edkins

A heavily scented room filled with a stage, bar and a few hundred people was the scene on Saturday night at Kings Arms in Auckland City. Third3ye’s new album ‘On3ness’ was the occasion in which people had come to show support including other local artists and genuine hip hop heads. An underground hip hop presence was definitely felt when walking into the venue. The setting had a tranquil vibe as the lights coloured the stage in blues and greens creating an almost spiritual aura when looking towards it. Supporting acts included Bad Crop and Team Dynamite; both crews are amazing lyricists and created an atmosphere where everybody in the crowd was moving in some kind of way — whether it was just their heads or flat out dancing. Lucky Lance and Tony Tz from Team Dynamite had people hollering “Y G B, Y-Y G B, Y G B, Y-Y G B” which amped up the audience in to straight anarchy.

Lance and Tony Tz from Team Dynamite had people hollering “Y G B, Y-Y G B, Y G B, Y-Y G B” 

Two members of Third3ye, MellowDownz and Angelo King, could be seen walking around the venue conversing with fans and friends, who I think mostly were both, which was an awesome thing to see. Artists who appreciate their fans and friends are always setting a good example and creating a solid ambiance for everyone.

Before Third3ye made their way on stage the DJ played an exclusive new music video ‘3ye spy’ from On3ness which received massive applauds and readied the audience for an incredible performance by the group. As Third3ye took centre stage, their lyrics were deep and meaningful which I think goes along way with hip hop fans because we are able to relate easily to the words they’re spitting.  The content I felt was very one-loving and I almost had this portrayal of the two as these rappers of the land who rhyme about spiritual and physical experiences they’ve encountered since living. The crowd and atmosphere was as one with the music, you had people raising their hands in support and people going crazy over their lyrical technique. I took a look around to watch the facial expressions of the fans and all of them where all caught up within the music and you could easily tell they believed in what they were spitting. Early on in their set they were joined by Bailey Wiley who is another underground artist; together they rocked the crowd for a couple of songs including ‘Fengswayzie’ which comments on some of the negatives in the world and our environment, but also how we need to overcome them together to create that perfect place for all.

All the songs were obviously from their new album ‘On3ness’ which they handed out on the door when walking in and inside was an explanation of the album which said

“On3ness to us is a concept that describes the circle of infinite connections, binding all things. Our expressions of this philosophy is what you will hear right here – the best way we can through musical vibrations”.

Third3ye is a collective of musicians who are spiritually conscious and are on the same page, the group consists of Auckland MC’s MelowDownz and Angelo King, Northland DJ/Producer DJ TORU and internationally acclaimed producer Ben Jamin. Together they have put out two EP’s and one album. They all heavily believe in the third eye concept and are able to interpret their world within clever and clear lyrics laced in groovy/jazzy beats.  Their spiritual approach towards hip hop is easily a breath of fresh air and are always pushing messages of philosophy , enlightenment and higher consciousness.

It was my first time experiencing the underground hip hop scene and it was safe to say that shit was inspiring; to see this family of musicians come together to support and contribute to the night was solid. It’s great that the hip hop culture in New Zealand is so strong even if it is still underground.

Third3ye will be in Wellington performing with the No Problemos in Kapiti this Friday, May  2nd

Checkout On3ness below:

Review: A$AP Ferg — Trap Lord Leads A New Religion Down Under

Gigs, Music, Review

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A$AP Murder Clan…. Ride Wit The Mob. @asapferg

A post shared by TJ Mizell (@tjmizell) on

“People from Harlem are cool cats,” says CK Paton, one half African-American, one half New Zealander who’s had the good fortune to live in both worlds. A$AP Ferg, from Harlem, played Wellington on Friday night to a sold out crowd. Bodega was like a giant mosh pit, which was cool, considering it was a rap concert; proving again, – as a renewed energy asserts itself in Wellington for hip hop and rap – we can actually sell out rap shows.

If I got to talk to Ferg, I’d ask if having such die-hard fans all the way in New Zealand like this was a surprise to him.

“Y’all are way more turnt than Christchurch,” he said at the after party, where his sense of showmanship had him standing on railings and tables — an instinctive reaction to performing in such a tight space, I thought, as I watched him being led out of VIP to hungry fans who’s paid a mere $5 to walk in off the street and witness the ‘Shabba’ star.

As an extra treat, the after party (hosted by Robin Fernando and Mazdef Productions) had Ferg’s DJ play a set at the Blair Street venue – Betty’s Function House. Once the mob members had taken off their white robes and gas masks, it was realised the DJ was TJ Mizell, Jam Master Jay’s son. Before I was told that though (if I’m unashamedly honest), all the gas masks had reminded me of, was Danny Browns lyrics in ‘Terrorist Threats’:

“O,K,K,K. We mobbing like we the black K,K,K… Don’t try to stop it, get in my way. You’ll get stomped like a Broadway play. OK.” 

These dudes got me feeling like there’s been a massive shift in the universe.

The A$AP Mob [hometown New York] have built an empire where their subscribers don’t necessarily have to understand or know where they come from, or how they live there; all they have to do is leave their inhibitions at home when they come to a show; once there all that is required is that they lower their head so eyes are floor-focussed, raise their fists above their head and shake it whilst shrugging their shoulders in time to the trap-style BPM (140 or thereabouts). This is how one gets ‘turnt’. Eating ‘lollies’ is also involved. So is spilling your liquor on others while bumping into them on purpose. As A$AP Mob apparel reads ‘A$AP Worldwide’, the crew which is made up of rappers, producers and fashion designers are seemingly recruiting fans who just wanna let go sometimes. The last time I remember such an effect on Welly kids was when Keak Da Sneak and E-40 brought ‘Hyphy’ to the mainstream and Welly kids were hanging out of subbed-out family vans, doors open and swinging as the driver rolled down the street at 10 kilometers an hour. It’s a beautiful thing.

This is what Ferg posted on Instagram about Wellington:

“It’s like they all left their brains at home” my friend Ramya, 25, said; observing Wellington’s particular style of turnt involved alpha males pushing girls out of the way to get a good view of the Trap Lord — weird.

Her brother, Prad, 20, replied, “You have to let go sometimes. If you aren’t people who turn up, then you’re not going to get it. I knew for a fact if I was going to Ferg then I’d have to lose my inhibitions and wild out, it’s part and parcel of the new young breed of hip hop. No one would do that at Jay Z or Common, but the new age is infused with punk almost, did you see the Hood Pope t-shirt? That’s so punk.”

Nevertheless the part that caught me the most, was, amidst all this craziness, and lyrics like “ladies, when that broke ass ni*** cum quick…What you gon’ tell him?…’Get the fuck out my face'”, [actually a fair call] Ferg also asked for the lights to be turned off and lighters and phones to be raised in the air because, he said, ‘I know many of you are on drugs and this is for anybody who’s ever had friends and family O D or friends and family who’ve never come back from drugs’. Mizell then dropped ‘Cocaine Castle‘ off Ferg’s album Trap Lord.

As the after party began to wrap, Ferg came back to his booth to find VIP had been invaded by fans; his champagne had been sprayed everywhere and then a tiny girl standing on the seats screamed really loud  and jumped on him so hard he lost balance. He, gentleman-like obliged her (and  as short as he is, she was tinier), as he put her back on the seat she’d jumped from and went to look for someone familiar. Ferg had done his job. Well. He left the club looking satisfied, with a look on his face like two down, one to go. He played Auckland next. Shouts out to Marek and Josh for throwing a memorable night for local fans, from Bodega to Betty’s.

The next Robin Fernando gig is Erykah Badu, April 10 in Auckland and School Boy Q and Isaiah Rashad in Wellington, Saturday, June 14th.

WDYFILWHH also has three digital album downloads to giveaway. Just hash tag ‘TRAPLORD’ to our Twitter by Thursday, May 8, 2014 and be in to win.

Review: Oddisee — Live At San Fran Bath House, Wellington

Gigs, Music, Review

04 Oddisee

Photo courtesy of Mickey Poppy-Lees

It’s another Saturday night at San Francisco Bath House. Many gigs have been at Bodega of late, and it’s nice to be back at San Fran on Cuba Street. Local DJs Jay Knight and Dam G have warmed up the crowd nicely. Raiza Biza’s on next —  he’s bringing the heat for the main man tonight, Washington DC—Mello Music Group artist, Oddisee.

Delivering a set that was laid back, smooth, jazzy. Raiza, despite all these slow-type adjectives orchestrated a slow, controlled crescendo that peaked with his song ‘Sleepless City’ —  a chill track with the ability to amp you up at the same time — it’s an infectious juxtaposition.  When Jay Knight drops Raiza’s ‘Girl With No Name’, we’re left sailing the night on an ocean of lyrical jazz whispers where the stars litter the sky and the black horizon has no end. Raiza became my new favourite conductor that night. “I can’t stop staring at him” I tell my friend Hari.

Not nearly as entranced as I was, she replies, “He’s real good girl — definitely a good rapper.” Then something clicks in her thinking and it’s like she just discovered an inner truth about me that I’ve always been secretly aware of.  Pointing and laughing  with delight she’s just snapped me out; she’s inside my inside space, grinning with her Scarlett Johansson mouth. She turns and looks back at Raiza. I’ve been caught. Luckily, someone with love for me done it. As the whole audience stand nestled in the palm of Raiza’s hand I wonder, when did he get this good? He was only down here for Kev Brown a few months ago, but he’s way more relaxed this show around, and he has this kind of grace as he paces the stage with his six-foot-something stature. Stalking it like a lion in a cage we paid to see, I marvel at the animal. Hariata’s smiling at me again. I can’t help it. Wait didn’t he call an album Caged Lion a few years back? I’ll check when I get home —  as anti-social as it is to be staring at my phone in the club, I have to write this all down now. The writer in me refuses to forget a single moment. If I don’t write it now, the moment will pass. I’ll be sober. It wont be the same.

“Does he have CD’s?” asked my friend we call the Nanna Gangsta. “Yeah man all his music is online.”

Dam G comes on and plays an old school track that can’t match the heights Raiza set, it’s dull in comparison and so is the next one….. Until it isn’t, G Unit’s Hate It Or Love It creeps in, Mary J backing in first, suddenly you’re jamming. Then, Let’s Stay Together by Al Green. The DJ’s got you where he wants you. Dam G is the kind of conductor that lets the music speak for him where he wont. He is that DJ you’re not entirely sure where to place, until he’s deep into a set, dropping evocative 90’s bangers, reminding you of a much freer time in life.

As Oddisee walks on stage without any fuss. He’s tall, graceful, non-assuming. A muslim man, whose father is from Sudan; his stature embodies the elements of  what I know Arabic to be — an elegant language written in the Quaran. What I know of Islam is that it’s a philosophical way of existing — all these elements comes out in his verses. When he opens his mouth he is clearly American but where he isn’t stereotypically American, exudes from is body language. He is graceful, majestic, his aura is warm. There’s something about Oddisee that is royal.

Photo courtesy of Mickey Poppy-Lees

Photo courtesy of Mickey Poppy-Lees

He’d been given the highest-level welcome our home crowd had to give. We the audience were warmed up and ready. Special effects smoke surrounds him. ‘RESPECT,’ he says. As the bass dropped, it vibrated through bones with a staunch feeling akin to a soul-clap.

Oddisee: ‘Wellington, what’s good?’

Audience: “Rawwrrr, yeaahhhh [whistles]”. We’re good to go.

Oddisee: “Oohh, ohhoohoo, oh, oh, ohhhhh…. Is y’all ready to rock?”. This guy is a rockstar. His shine illuminates San Fran.

Deep into his set, featuring songs from his new joint Tangible Dream and last year’s epic release People Hear What They See, he’s got the whole club at church, and as he sails through his tracks, no one wants him to leave. He drops a personal favourite, ‘You Know Who You Are’ off People Hear What They See. Now we’re in the belly of the beast… Rocking and rolling with the rockstar.

“In any event just make sure that you know who you are”. 

Then he spits an acapella, which in one blow, assassinates any other I’ve heard done live to date. It involves the crowd, bounces us — commands us up, then smooths us back down. It goes for bars. We begin to realise he’s letting us down gently. He’s going to leave soon, he indicates as nicely as he can.

There’s an encore.  “Oddisee! Oddisee! Oddisee!”

He comes back — but just like everything, there will be an end. And just as we’re absolutely marveled, he thanks us and leaves just as quietly as he came. The whole show hosted by Hadyn Middleton of Madcap Touring was one of the biggest waves I have seen all year; it came crashing down from such a height, rolled on the stage, broke and then dissolved back into the night.