Band on the Wall
If Talib Kweli was attempting to highlight something through his gig at Band on the Wall it was context. He consistently put hip-hop – and by extension, his own music - within its context, whether that be musical, historical, or social. It pervaded all aspects of his performance, from song choice to the visuals on-screen behind him. In a venue with a solid female presence - not an even split by any means - Kweli asked the crowd to look around and recognise the strength needed by women to enter a space that is often considered to be male-centric, placing great emphasis on diversity as something to be celebrated and striven for.
Consistently paying homage to the diverse roots of his music, Kweli blended both his current tracks and Black Star classics with snippets from The Jackson 5 and J Dilla. These fusions were topped off by his spectacular delivery of his well-known track Lonely People which uses the anthemic strings of the Beatle’s classic Eleanor Rigby to create a heavily percussive rap track. His flow, renowned for its fast, rhythmic pacing never ceased to elicit anything less than total admiration from the crowd. When he got into his track Palookas hitting out the lyrics “you ain’t got a verse better than my worst one” a general cry went up in the room of complete and total agreement. Not only does Kweli inspire a confidence in his lyrical abilities, but he leaves an impression of his authenticity and credibility as someone who has pioneered the socially conscious potential of hip-hop.
Having recently seen Maxwell attempt (and fail) to incorporate a socially conscious element into his performance on his most recent tour, I can confidently say that Kweli did it right. Helped in large part by the fact that he has been consistent in revealing an intensely conscious mindset through his lyrics, the way in which he interwove his intent throughout his performance left no doubt about his sincerity. Returning for an encore, he delivered his arguably most popular track Get By backed with visuals of contemporary war. It added further resonance to the song which ruminates on the daily struggles of life in a consumerist world; getting by in one place, can mean a wholly different thing in the next. The track, released way back in 2002, offers the lyrics ‘Yo, I activism, attacking the system/ The Blacks and Latins in prison/Numbers have risen’. Kweli’s parting wish for the audience was that we do not remove hip-hop music from the struggle from which it emerged, and the struggle which is on-going today. It’s clear that it was important to Kweli not just to deliver an impeccable performance that situates him at the core of the hip-hop genre, but also offer an education that cautions against removing that genre from its context.
Words: Lydia Entwistle
The illustrious woodland debauchery of Gottwood is now reincarnate in Houghton - a new festival to 2017 curated by Craig Richards. With a vision to make sure the festival “represents the very best in electronic music and those performing are closest to my heart and record box,” Richards’ hand-picked selections are already shaping up to something quite special.
Ricardo Villalobos and Max Loderbauer’s VILOD takes is UK debut, alongside an endless list of heavyweight DJs: Nicolas Jaar, Floating Points, Seth Troxler, Ben UFO, SAOIRSE, Andrew Weatherall, the list goes on. The emphasis here is on spontaneity, and extended sets plus impromptu b2bs are something we can be sure to expect. Live sets from Convextion and Howie B. and Borgar Magnason also contribute to its eclecticism, whilst Gottwood’s artistic flare is spearheaded by visionaries like James Turrell, Richard Long and Zhan Wang.
Located in the height of August, in a lake-side estate but a train ride from central London, even in its initial stages and more acts yet to be announced is Houghton setting itself up to be a true contender in the festival season. Tickets are on sale now.
Back for its annual New Year's Eve celebration, Electric Minds returns on the 31st not only to see in the end of 2016 but also of its ten year trajectory. First established in 2005 by Hydra co-founder Dolan Bergin, the electronic music label and party promoter has excelled in showcasing the highest quality of house and techno on multiple fronts. Releasing records from DJs such as Move D, Endian and Jay Shepheard, whilst hosting the likes of Steffi, Theo Parrish and Omar S in parties spread across London, Berlin and New York, it is fair to say that Electric Minds has made its mark on the clubbing landscape of the capital and beyond. Joining Bergin himself for one last dance, Move D, Mr. Ties and Hesseltime will grace the decks of South London's Corsica Studios at the end of the month. To find out more or purchase tickets click here, and to join us in a nostalgic journey of Electric Minds impressive history, check out our playlist and photo collection below.
051013 // Celebrating its 8th birthday with the likes of Prosumer, Fred P, Kassem Mosse and Recondite, Electric Minds brought the party to its home in East London's Studio Spaces.
200414 // Curating the Dimensions Festival Launch Party, Electric Minds hosted Theo Parrish, Move D and Last Magpie alongside its own Dolan Bergin in the spring of 2014.
01012015 // Dixon, John Talabot and Levon Vincent joined the New Years Day party in 2015.
300815 // October saw the return of Dixon to Electric Minds with an intimate Loft Party.
010116 // Returning to Studio Spaces for their regular New Year's Day party, Electric Minds hosted Ame, Axel Boman and long time favourite Move D.
150616 // Joining Electric Minds for their OFF Sonar Party, Joy Orbison, Roman Flugel and Palms Trax took to the decks of BeCool in Barcelona.
200816 // Partying in New York with Sublimate, Electric Minds hosted prolific DJ duo Ben UFO and Joy Orbison in one of their last ever club nights.