Photo: Jenavieve Photography
Saturday 19th April was worldwide Record Store Day, Easter and also the day Grieves visited Aarhus for the first time. All reasons to celebrate, however, where Record Store Day is an extremely crowded affair Grieves was performing for a somewhat empty Atlas. Whether it was symptomatic for Atlas’ inability to make anyone aware of their existence and promote events or just the fact that it was Easter there must have been only around 100 people in the somewhat oversized arena.
As we arrived the evening’s house-DJ SWAB was already going at it on the 1210’s with appropriate tunes connecting with the performing artist and cutting it up. That however can not really be said of the slightly misbooked Wilfred x Jensus with their stoney combination of electronic music and off-beat hip hop, which didn’t really fit with style of the more organic and up-tempo Grieves. Wilfred, formerly know as Al Benedict has however gotten more hold of his producing, but even with them being joined by Inspired and Damp on stage for most of the show, it just was a mismatch.
After a short break the main event appeared on stage accompanied by a keyboard player and a guitarist. Following the back track and his to musicians Grieves didn’t seem at all to be moved by the low turnout and gave it all from the get go. His delivery was tight, his stage presence really good and his flow on point. You always had the feeling that he meant every word in his lyrics and he was able to convey the emotions perfectly. Grieves has always been somewhat in the shadow of some of the other Rhymesayers artists (e.g. Brother Ali, Atmosphere, MF Doom, Dilated Peoples) and he has his limitations as an artist. On stage at Atlas however he found the fine line that allowed him to get the most out of his potential. With a broad track list going through his catalogue we got to hear everything from Bloody Poetry to Rain Damage. Although he has never really caught my attention that much on record he certainly did live. A very good performance for a small, but dedicated crowd. The only real issue was the sound. It was very treble and way to loud. Especially for a rapper with a powerful pronunciation of the letters P and S. It must have helped their sale of earplugs on the other hand.
All in all a very good concert and a rapper who gave it all, no matter the turnout. The only sad things is all the people I talked to in the days following the concert that had no idea he was playing or at what time and were upset to have missed him. So let’s hope for more hip hop in the future from Fonden Voxhall. Having arranged a lot of concerts, sometimes during Easter, mostly I think the problem was just timing this time around.