This is HipHopTripHopSwingReggaeWorldMusicDubstepChineseF*ckingMan.
The “Kill Bill” sirens announce their arrival. Alright, this is going to be great! While the question whether the venue has filled because of or despite the pre-act “Baba Ganoush” will forever remain a mystery, Chinese Man themselves enter the stage of a decently filled Train around 10.30 pm.
They start off with some swing samples (not very good at this, but at least I recognised Benny Goodman’s “Sing, Sing, Sing”). It actually takes some time (around two to three songs) for the audience to warm up. Finally, the first major breakout from the audience happen when Grandmaster Flash’s voice rings out and most people in the audience know what this means: Le Pudding, produced by Chinese Man-affiliate Leo le Bug. It combines Flash’s “The Message” with a sample from Asterix and Cleopatra. This is Chinese Man at its best. After that, the venue turns into one giant party. There is skanking, there is clapping (sorry Asbjørn!), and at some point there are even crowdsurfers (see how it’s done, Foals?).
This might also be due to Taiwan MC. Signed on Chinese Man Records, he enters the stage for the first time to perform “Miss Chang”. Taiwan really has a feeling for the audience and knows how to get everyone going. After a while though, I start to wonder: what did I sign up for? Given the MC’s dominance, will this turn out to be a flat out dubstep/DnB concert after all? It won’t, at least not completely. Taiwan leaves the stage after three songs or so and the DJ collective gets out all their hits (Get Up, Racing With the Sun, and, of course I’ve Got That Tune). But MC Taiwan would later reappear and accompany major parts of the show as well as the encore.
In the end, Chinese Man did deliver a very dub-heavy concert, which leaves me a bit riven. In regards to atmosphere and show, it certainly makes sense to go more into danceable and performance-heavy elements. And Taiwan MC is undoubtedly a very talented MC. It’s just that I personally enjoy the fine sample and remix art you get when you listen to their albums, and to a certain extent I felt like Taiwan needlessly dwarfed Chinese Man.
Mind you, though, that this is critique on a very high level. Overall, their versatile choice of songs really left little to be desired, the visuals in the background came out fantastically, the atmosphere was great and everyone, the artists included, had a great time. And while the concert ended shortly after midnight, one realisation remains, formulated by Taiwan MC: “You can’t stop Chinese Man now”. Or ever.