(photo: Steffen Jørgensen)
On Sunday the 18th of May both my favorite groups and the artist behind one of my favorite albums visited Aarhus – the later for the first time ever. On top of that, as a special treat for us Danes they brought along Tonedeff in Copenhagen and Aarhus. Atlas was the scene and the excitement arose as the clock moved towards 20:00 hours. For some reason the concert had been moved to Atlas instead of Voxhall. Whether it was poor ticket sales that caused that or not the fact is that they had really neglected the promotion part. A great deal of people never knew they were coming when I talked to them – even on the day of the event – and they had only invited less than 1000 people to the event on Facebook. And I had invited one third of those myself. Unfortunate, because I know a lot of people who want to see Cunninlynguists – they have a large fan base in the Aarhus area – and because of the quality of the concerts.
Well, at least a decent amount of people showed up. We were however very negatively surprised to learn that there was no house-DJ, which is to put it lightly extremely disrespectful to both the artists and the audience (read: http://soundofaarhus.com/open-letter-dj/). It is also strange because Thomax was on the event as an artist even though he did nothing at all. He didn’t DJ one single time and all he did was change the tracks for the artists without even as much as a little mix or scratch. Why the hell he was there I do not understand. Him being promoted as someone playing was just a blatant lie.
After a bit of a delay – which unfortunately caused a lot of people having to leave the venue before the last concert had ended so they could catch the last bus – Sadistik entered the stage. The man behind one of my all-time favorite albums “The Balancing Act”. Sadistik is from Seattle and he shows a lot of that in his approach to music and especially in his depression lyrical content. He also looked the part of a modern day grunger with the beard and long hair. He is an enigma, something it’s hard not to be ambivalent about. He is a tremendously talented MC, can flow for days but always seem to really outshine his choices of production in his never material. He took the stage banging with high energy and a great deal of charisma. He delivered his lyrics with feeling and did everything to get the audience going, even though they were very busy listening. He premiered a lot of new material, played the new fabulous single “Virginia Wolf” a lot of tracks from his latest album “Flowers For My Father” but only one track, “Searching For Some Beautiful”. His delivery was flawless; the sound however was really poor. In something that unfortunately seems to be some kind of mantra for hip hop concerts at Atlas the treble was way to high, the sound is to high for the amount of people in the room and there’s an awful lot of hissing.
After a small interlude, once again with just a playlist, Tonedeff entered the scene with what is the antithesis of Sadistik. Party music as opposed to the pensive contemplative music earlier. Tonedeff has a gift of gab that is in a category by himself, his party music however doesn’t appeal to me. The show was more or less the same as when he was here two years ago, with a conga line, a girl on stage for “Pervert” and the same tracks. But when he is good he is ridiculously good. When he performs “Optimist” or the masterpiece “Porcelain” the hairs on your neck will stand up and your heart will skip a beat. If only the show was more seriousness and less party and especially less singing, since he cannot hit the notes live. If that, then his show would be crazy!
After yet another small interlude the main act Cunninlynguist took the stage. In it’s current form Cunninlynguists consists of Kno, who is now only the producer, but used to rap on the first two albums, Deacon The Villain is also a producer and rapper and along with Kno the founding members of the group. Natti is the third member and joined after the former member Mr. SOS left in 2004. This means that not everything can be played live and not in it’s full form. That however has never stopped Cunninlynguists from putting on a show. With a catalogue filled with classics they managed to go through all the albums and you didn’t really feel that they left anything out. You even got solo tracks from Kno and Natti.
Kno was the front man on stage, although he called himself by various white rapper names such as Mac Miller and Bubba Sparxxx. The delivery was great from all three, although Deacon The Villains microphone was very low. The sound however had gotten a bit better as well.
In the middle of the show Cunninlynguists called out for Tonedeff to enter the stage so he could play some of the tracks he features and they proceeded to play “616 Rewind” and “Love Ain’t”, later they brought Sadistik on stage so they could play “Castles” from the new album, which he features and he would also play his own track “Kill The King” where Deacon The Villain does the hook. It’s hard to pick any highlight from a concert filled with them but one thing does stand out; when Tonedeff reentered the stage alone to play “The Gates” in which he is standing at the gates of heaven talking to Saint Peter – rapped by Deacon The Villain from outside the stage. With the lights dimmed Tonedeff acted out his remorse rapping towards the sky when suddenly “Hellfire” burst through the speakers and all four rappers bounced around on stage. As with all the other times they have visited Aarhus a great performance.
A very good night with a few flaws. It is really dope that there are now once again hip-hop concerts at Atlas/Voxhall. It is however concerning that there is no house-DJ. That’s just not okay. And it is not okay to put an artist on the program to not have him perform at all. And the sound needs to be better when you have the equipment and acoustics Atlas have. I hope that these things will be better the next time. The concerts were all really good, the artists performed and Cunninlyguists was the best I have seen in a long time. The worst thing actually has nothing to do with the show but with customs, who was holding back the vinyl version of the “A Piece Of Strange” that is only available on the tour.