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Clef, Can You Rock!?

Posted by Goran / March 5, 2008


The crowd was pumpin’ for Wyclef Jean last Thursday night at a second of two consecutive sold out Metropolis performances. The venue was actually so full that I couldn’t even check my coat for want of hangers at the vestiaire. The numbers indicated that Clef’s performance would likely be a better fit for the Bell Centre. But with the Carnival in full effect, and the Jaspora representing Haiti in a sea of red and blue flags, Wyclef’s preference for more intimate crowds was unquestionable.

This was a true cultural event. The beautiful and energetic crowd tirelessly danced and chanted through a 3.5-hour explosive performance. Clef took the audience on a hip-hop laced trans-genre trip through musical culture. His band was world-class, and had no difficulty backing Clef through his tongue-picked, behind-the-back guitar solos, back flips, stage-diving, and crowd surfing. They rocked steady to classic Fugee tracks, slowed it down to a reggae jam mash-up of Knockin’ on Heavens Door and Yele, and had the Metropolis quaking to a half hour of Carnival Kompa madness.

Wyclef Jean is an inspiring individual, doing his best to keep pop and hip-hop cool and relevant. A poor Haitian immigrant that grew up in the ghettos of Jersey and NYC, he embodies the American dream, and deserves it as well. His lyrics are fresh, his tracks are hot, and as far as rappers go these days, he’s actually a pretty good role model and a humanitarian. Clef showed off his social conscience through artsy and resonating condemnations of racism, violence, and poverty.

Maybe there’s just way too much to be said about this show, so if you feel like I missed any interesting parts, then please do let me know. However, the show was not free of disappointed and I’d love to know what Midnight Poutine readers have to say about this as well. Sometimes I felt more like I was listening to a CD than a live band. Even though Clef and the band had sufficiently demonstrated their musicianship, apparently they still found it necessary to take a 50 Cent/Ashley Simpson approach to many of their songs.

I honestly thought Clef was better than that. He even wailed on the piano, guitar and jambe, as he sang and rapped like a natural to prove his talent. So why is it that his voice was inaudible during most of the hip-hop tracks he performed? It’s sad that contemporary music live performances are becoming so sample-centric and heavily pre-programmed that as a result concerts just aren’t really live anymore. At times I just felt like I was listening to a really good DJ, at a really hot club, where Clef just happened to be the MC. That actually still sounds like a wicked party. However, this wicked party left me with a strong aftertaste of “et tu Clef?”

Photo from Flickr user zeuxis.pixelsurgery



Jer / March 5, 2008 at 03:44 pm
3.5 hours?! Holy snap.

And do you think I could take a 50 Cent/Ashely Simpson approach to the next wine and cheese I attend?
O / March 5, 2008 at 04:39 pm
"et tu, Goran?"

Stop stealing my Shakespearean blog-schtik:

Good review though.
O / March 5, 2008 at 05:08 pm
Did I say "stealing"? I meant "sampling".

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