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Controlled K-OS

Posted by Chip / October 30, 2006

K-OS @ La tulipe, October 26th, 2006

La Tulipe is my new favorite venue in Montreal. Think about it. For those who want to rock out, there’s the ample floor space available in front of the stage. For the older, tamer folks, there are the café style seating areas on either side of the bottom level, slightly elevated from the floor for your viewing pleasure. And finally, for those who want to be less sweaty or those who are short and want an unimpeded view, there is the balcony. Because I was excited about seeing k-os perform live, I chose to defy my age and make my way to the floor. I decided that it didn’t matter that I was the old guy in a standing crowd full of cegep students. How ‘hip-hop’ of me.

It was the right decision.

From the minute the band stepped on stage and k-os took control of the mic, we were all like putty in his hands – heads were nodding, hands were waving in the air, and voices were singing in response to the MC’s every request.

About 3 songs into his energetic set, k-os decided to settle down the crowd.
“I woke up this morning and couldn’t get this tune out of my head,” he shared. After sushing a balcony-dwelling yeller, k-os gathered himself and began to softly sing,

All my troubles seemed so far away,
Hip hop just ain’t the same today,
Oh I believe in yesterday.

By the third verse, the crowd was singing the Beatles tune in unison, perhaps missing out on the modified lyrics. From recent articles I’ve been reading it seems that this Toronto hip-hop star has been battling labeling and perception problems - specifically with the idea that his music is anything but hip hop. He makes it a point of letting people knows that this offends him.

Emcee Murdah, It’s all around us.

Armed with 2 guitarists, 2 percussionists, a DJ, and 3 break dancers, the show - hip hop or not - was a great live performance. From the onset, it was clear that the band loved to perform. Interspersed with songs from his latest two albums, Joyful Rebellion and Atlantis Hymns for Disco, were several drum, turntable and guitar solos. When the band wanted a slight rest, the break dancers kept the crowd alive with mini-battles – complicated by the small stage, but still hand-raising goodness. No one even seemed to mind that k-os often forgot lyrics to his most popular songs, as he seamlessly made up for it by freestyling every time.

As the first set ended, I felt myself starting to cringe as the chorus of olé, olé, olé began from the locals (obviously) demanding an encore. I quickly relaxed though as it occurred to me that there’s probably no other city on their tour that k-os can sit backstage and hear this melodic cheering, usually reserved for soccer games (and in the case of Montreal, any concert or sporting event). And hey, it’s better than the dude who’s usually close by with two fingers in his mouth producing those piercing whistling noises.

And although he made no apologies for the final song of the night – Canadian radio favorite Crabbuckit (sorry Jer) – he acknowledged his apparent obligation to play it when reappearing for the 2nd encore and proclaiming, “Well, there’s only one more song we can play.”

Cue the stand-up bass.



J Mac / October 31, 2006 at 07:22 am
Omer, I must confess here that the Crabuckit resistance came from me, not Jer. Apologies for the confusion.
Omar / October 31, 2006 at 10:23 am
Hurrah to your age-defying stunts...even if they are akin to Quixote fighting the windmills of time... Just kidding, what is age anyways? It only matters how you feel inside. Take me. Although I'm 33, Spiritualy, I'm 103. Go Figure.

Nice review, man.
OJ / October 31, 2006 at 01:28 pm
True, what is age? I have the maturity of a 17 year old teen, but am limited in my activities by the back of a 73 year old brick layer. I guess they kind of average out.

Still, the kids on the dance floor didn't know what to make of my mid-show stretching routine.
Jer / October 31, 2006 at 01:43 pm
For the record, I can take or leave Crabukit. My main reservations come from the spelling, which is just to crazy. It's like spelling crazy C-Rayz. Crazy.
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