Grandmaster Flash @ Trak
A legendary turntablist, Grandmaster Flash is one of the pioneers of hip hop DJing, cutting and mixing. His induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007 along with the Furious Five made them the first hip hop/rap artists to be recipients of the honour. It was during his teenage years that he developed and mastered three innovations that are still considered standard DJing techniques today including the backspin, scratching and punch phrasing.
I was glad to see that there were people indulging in the old school style. And by indulge I am referring specifically to matching velour tracksuits, squeaky-clean sneakers and beret hats. Much like the KRS-One show, it seems DJ Peril is the old school DJ of choice, and with good reason. His mixes set the scene with a lively blend beginning with ‘70s disco, moving through to the early 90s music, with bass heavy tracks. All the while he incorporated the classic hip hop chimes and funky bass lines. It was when he played James Brown’s The Funky Drummer (aka the most famous breakbeat of all time) that he segued neatly into Grandmaster Flash’s set.
When Grandmaster entered the stage he did not speak to the audience, but immediately began his set with BBD classic Poison. After some expert scratching he layered soulful horns over the beat, then stripped it back down again. It was awesome to see him manipulating the records with freakish precision and with natural ease. Soon the Another One Bites The Dust beat began to pound through Trak. I was expecting him to add a classic rap line over the top, so I was surprised, but happy to hear Freddie Mercury’s smooth vocals sing the song. Each track after the next was a classic and the crowd was soaking it up. Most people were on the dancefloor, so it was an unconventional show in that the focus wasn’t so much on watching Grandmaster Flash as it was enjoying the vibe and soaking up the music.
You had some crazy dancers too. Crazy good and just crazy, but it was refreshing to see people lose their inhibitions and enjoy themselves. The only time he spoke to the audience was to thank us for coming, and then he played Blackstreet’s No Diggity, calling it a day.
BY TAMARA VOGL
LOVED: ‘70s disco music (Anita Ward’s Ring My Bell. No? Come on!)
HATED: Nearly getting knocked the fuck out by some super excited dancer who was flailing her arms about like an electricuted meth-head.