Monday, 27 October 2014

MUSIC REVIEW: DJ Snoopadelic

To be in the company of Snoop Dogg is to be in good company, usually: beyond the controversy and misogyny, the rapper, songwriter and, er, actor (everyone remember Starsky & Hutch?) has a rocking and rolling repertoire to go with a rather rocky reputation. Ideal for any musical city.

What better time is there, then, for this temperamental tuneaholic, less glamorously known as Calvin Broadus, to descend upon Derry-Londonderry with his first DJ Snoopadelic set in Ireland?

The flat and gravelly foundations where the giant tent named the Venue once stood are enveloped in cold winds, cloudy skies and damp drizzle. One could be forgiven for wishing the tent is still sheltering them as Type One, aka Christopher Ferry, does his utmost to warm the cockles with a steady set. The calm, concentrated Ferry lets his music, the screen lighting and occasional chants from a small but loyal band of air pumping punters do the talking.

Further uplift is provided by the literal zen of Zenemy: a clown faced DJ, mildly colourful language and cheeky chappy cheerleader rappers that cheer up, chant to and charge the growing crowd animatedly. The unanimously, unexpectedly booming atmosphere is now ready for the unifyingly bouncy beat of the main man; the rain and cold are now much less relevant.

Alarm bells and sirens are heard, and strobe lighting becomes prominent. Onto the stage steps Snoop Dogg, on a mission to deliver good time by playing every musical genre he likes for the people.

And he does a rather fine job too. A deliciously jazzy hip hop beat elevates the mood, preceding a funky techno rap that emanates from an aura of cool behind the turntable. With shades donned, dreadlocks in place and arms wide opened, Snoop relaxes as Derry roars, his king-like demeanour projecting a newly found confidence to those watching.

Techno and hip hop later merge with rap, rock and funk to create a suburban disco beat entirely in keeping with the surroundings. The on stage screen graphics, punctuated by shots of the clapping, singing crowd, are sometimes garish but never dull. Accompanied by tried, trusted and toneful tuneage, including Lady Gaga, Queen, James Brown and Los Lobos, it's a recipe for success.

If Snoop is not overly talkative, he doesn't need to be: his modus operandi isn't centred around friendly interactivity, but rather a close encounter of vibrant visual video and animated audio. One that sends the young Derry populace to happy homes.

(The original version of this review appeared in the Belfast Telegraph on Friday October 24, 2014.)