Next Tuesday marks the release of a collaborative effort between a young local band on the rise & a hip hop legend, who in his own words, is just now catching his second wind and hitting his stride. And as great an album their upcoming release Sour Soul is, Thursday nights free Converse Rubber Tracks show at The Opera House was a celebration of each artists’ individual talent moreso than their combined effort. In fact, of the 23 song set list, only one song off of Sour Soul (Raygun) was heard by the enthusiastic crowd.
Converse Rubber Tracks is such a great free program for up and coming musicians and we want to provide as many Toronto musicians and bands the opportunity to record at our Rubber Tracks Pop-Up Studio in Toronto (two more pop-ups scheduled for April and May). This week had 5 musicians in-studio and a previous participant, Raz Fresco (he recorded at CRT Toronto in November) was selected at the opening act for our Converse Rubber Tracks Live performance on Feb 19th.
Just after 10:00, Badbadnotgood took the stage and played a 40+ minute warm-up set (for them, and for the people who endured -35 degree weather to get inside) It helped to loosen things up, and show any of those unfamiliar what the big deal is about BBNG. Playing a handful of tracks, including Kaleidoscope and their cover of Flying Lotus’ Putty Boy Strut, the boys were on point and the crowd knew they were in for something special.
Where BBNG really impressed was with their ability to take familiar Ghostface classics like Daytona 500, Nutmeg and One, and bring an entirely different dimension to them; One that makes so much sense in hindsight but definitely something that was not entirely expected. Even Ghostface remarked halfway through his set on how much he loves what they do, so much so that he got them to cover Nas’ classic Who’s World is This and The Jackson Five’s I Want you Back (who he remarked are two of his all-time favourite artists).
Ghostface Killah was equally impressive, almost as if the new arrangements were inspiring him to bring his ‘A’ game. As the night wound down, it turned into an all out Wu-Tang tribute, starting with ODB favourites Brooklyn Zoo & Shimmy Shimmy Ya, followed by a riotous back to back of Wu-Tang Clan Ain’t Nuthin’ to F’ Wit and C.R.E.A.M. that left much of the crowd speechless.
Looking back on it now, all I can say is this: If you ever have the chance to see BBNG and Ghostface together, do yourself a favour and go. When it comes to live hip hop, it really doesn’t get much better.
Also, don’t forget to pick up Sour Soul next Tuesday!