Sunday, July 09, 2006

Konono No 1, Jamie Lidell @ Harbourfront Main Stage (part of Beats, Breaks, and Culture)

Despite all the flaws in his set (bad PA system or shitty gear or a combination of both, keyboards that wouldn't work unexpectedly, keeping his gear in tune, a sloppy mix in which the percussion swamped the sludgy bass tones that sounded as if they were being played through a decaying guitar amp, the tendency to make Jamiroquai comparisons whenever a white British male makes an attempt at R&B, the overwhelming feeling that Brinkmann as Soul Center did a much better job with this minimal funk thing with the exception of the vocals), Jamie Lidell is onto something.

My number one expectation from Konono No 1 live was that they sound exactly like their "Congotronics" record. Everything over and above that would be gravy. Oh, and there were some other questions I needed answered, like "what sort of drum do they use for that rattling snare-esque sound?" (answer: it's not a drum, it's a hi-hat fed through a really shitty mic) and "do they use any sort of bass other than those thumb pianos?" (answer: no). In this case, the gravy was a huge group of white Torontonians getting down to an hour and a half of raw minimalism. The last (and probably only) time I saw anything like that in this city was the Scion + Tikiman show in 2002. And since this was the last show I will see in Toronto for a while, it's nice to go away knowing that people CAN learn some new tricks around these parts.

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