Touring in support of new album “The Ecstatic”, this is a sold out show for Mr. Dante Smith aka Mos Def. There are two DJ’s behind him, each with two turntables and a laptop as well as a drum kit set up to the right of the stage. He begins the show by standing up behind the drum kit and playing bass drum, toms and cymbals while rapping. I’m not too familiar with the new album so I don’t know if this is a track on there or not, but it’s a neat way to start proceedings.
However, this is a patchy show of highs and lows. Whenever Mos Def plays his older songs like “Ms Fat Booty” the crowd immediately lifts up and everyone is rocking. He does his and Talib Kweli’s verses on “Definition” and it’s one of the highlights of the gig. The lows are that he spends far too much time doing basic drumming on the kit while rapping along and it brings a lull to the show every single time.
Maybe he should have brought along a decent drummer and left himself free to rhyme which is after all what he does best. He did a hit and miss version of Michael Jackson’s “Rock with you” accompanying himself on the drums and I think it would have worked better if someone else was doing the drumming.
He also rhymes or just sings along to other songs which again is a decidedly hit and miss affair that just feels like he’s padding out the show. When he rhymes to tracks like “Being Boiled” by The Human League or sings along to “I got a woman” by Ray Charles it works because those are decent songs. When he insists on crooning along to “Holding back the years” by Simply Red you just want him to shut up and get on with a proper show. You really had to be there to see a hip hop crowd struck dumb by that self-indulgent nonsense and I can’t believe no one told him that was a crap idea 🙂 Artists egos eh ?
At least he finishes with “Umi says” so he leaves the crowd on a high, but I felt it was a patchy show that would have been greatly improved it if had been BlackStar rather than Mos def on his own. Also the tickets said “plus special guests” but no one showed up.
He definitely lacked someone like Talib Kweli to back him up and keep things ticking along rather than peaking and falling like the show continually did.
Put simply, he’s a talented actor, M.C. and poet so he should have put together a more consistent show.