Friday, February 08, 2008

Nightmare Before Christmas 2007, Saturday: GZA/Genius

(Centre Stage)

Eventually we made it back to the venues, and on a whim went to see some of the hop hip music they had on. Apparently it is popular with the young people. These GZA and Genius fellows really knew how to put on a good show.

One of the fun things about GZA was the various pronunciations of his name you would hear: Geezah, Gizzah, Gee-Zee-Ay, Gee-Zed-Ay, Jeezah, Jizzah, and so on. It was also not entirely clear initially whether Genius was a friend of his or some other name by which he goes (the latter is apparently the case). On returning, the young lad at work was able to confirm the correct pronunciation of his name as Gizzah.

Mr GZA is a member of The Wu Tang Clan, a group of hippity hoppers, and on this occasion he was performing his solo album Liquid Swords. He think he has also done this recently as part of one of those Don't Look Back concerts the ATP organisers are always putting on. Now, I believe in not looking back, and reject the rockist canonisation associated with this current vogue for artists performing their classic albums in their entirety as though they were some kind of classical symphony rather than a collection of tunes. In the case of Mr GZA, however, it was a bit less problematic, as I have never heard the album in question and so was not approaching it in a spirit of chin-stroking reverence. In fact, for all I know Mr GZA might have been playing the tracks in an unrecognisable style (or playing different tunes entirely). But it was still a big bag of fun, enjoyed greatly by the almost entirely white audience.

Some commentator in The Guardian did scove at the vista of whitey giving Mr GZA the W (a form of salute associated with fans of The Wu Tang Clan), but the writer maybe missed that point that i) Mr GZA asked us to do this and ii) worldwide, most hip hop fans are not actually African Americans. So live the dream. This made me think that I should go to more hippity hop gigs, as I typically enjoy them whenever I do. They can be quite dynamic in terms of onstage spectacle and all that. Word.

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