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Monday, July 5, 2010
The legendary Troubadour in Los Angeles got a heavy dose of groove on the night of July 2. An enthusiastic sold-out crowd was there to experience Dam-Funk the long haired maestro of the modern electro 'groovement' and critically acclaimed LA based 'Ambassador of Boogie Funk' as he is called around the world. When I arrived Stones Throw Records founder and DJ 'Peanut Butter' Wolf was marinating the crowd like a fine chef, prepping for the main course spinning an incredible set, synchronized with accompanying classic video which played as a backdrop. The crowd danced and cheered with nearly every clip which included an eclectic mix of classics ranging from a tribute to the King of Pop Michael Jackson, A Tribe Called Quest, DJ Quik and J Dilla in addition to bands like Slave and Brick. To the crowd of twenty somethings this vintage music which obviously preceded them in years or at the least may have been from their early childhood, was not about an old school trip down memory lane. More than likely, this music represents a quality of sound from an era where organic and soulful rhythms ruled, and these young adults are embracing it today as their own. The presentation in this setting with new generals at the helm, is no doubt a refreshing option to some of today's commercial and sterile pop formulas.
Renowned Stones Throw artist Aloe Blacc came out and tore it up with his poignant song "I Need a Dollar" as the larger than life projection of the accompanying video played behind him. Also taking the stage were MC Eiht and wonderfully irreverent female artist Jimi James. When the magnetic Dam-Funk took the stage with his band Master Blazter and launched into the spirited jam "Burn Straight Thru U", the crowd went into a frenzy and you couldn't help but be moved. I was watching from above the stage and shimmied and boogied with one of my dearest friends, who'd come with me on this night out. This is the kind of party music that people always say they miss. It is here in a new form and I highly recommend your legal download and purchase of Dam-Funk's release "Toeachizown". There are many choice cuts including his collaboration with Mark de-Clive-Lowe 'Candy Dancin'. If you're a vinyl fiend, you can also find the limited edition LP edition via Stones Throw Records.
The atmosphere at The Troubadour reminded me of the first time I saw Prince at The Roxy at his Los Angeles debut concert. It was raw, sexy and funky. Just as it was with Prince, it was easy to recognize that you were witnessing something transformational. Dam-funk blends classic sounds of the 70's and 80's with his own gangsta swagger and signature modern electro sound, turning it into a new and intoxicating brew.
I came out for a surprise appearance and did a mash-up to the appropriately titled "(My Funk Goes) On & On" with verses from a couple of my own classics "Looking For a New Love" and "Friends" surprising many with my interpretation of one of Rakim's memorable verses. The bass was so heavy it felt like the whole building was shaking. The great thing about performing in front of a younger audience is that the love and respect are there without the baggage and expectations of the past. Admittedly, there is an immense joy and freedom I get from that. Before leaving the stage I had the crowd chanting "Dam-Funk's In The House" and he returned the favor, as the crowd went bananas. With so many memorable moments in my career, no doubt tonight is placed among the list of highlights. I loved every minute of it just as much as the crowd seemed to.
(via): Twitter/Tweetphoto, Bombai