Reviews

The Streets

Jason Ladewig
The Streets

The Streets

City: Brooklyn, New York
Venue: Warsaw
Date: 2003-03-19
About 30 minutes after the doors opened, the bar area of Greenpoint's Warsaw was already full and "Eisbar" was playing on the jukebox. In the main space, someone was up on stage DJing with about 40 people gathered in front of the stage. I got a bit closer, and to my great surprise and pleasure, I discovered the DJ was New York City's own Bhangra player, DJ Rekha (who was billed only as "Special Guest"). I usually don't like making grand, sweeping statements, but I'll go out on a limb here and just say that DJ Rekha may be one of the most interesting and fun persons having anything to do with music in NYC. After five years of rave reviews for her club night "Basement Bhangra", it's nice to see Rekha getting out playing gigs as an opening act to audiences that may not be too familiar with the Bhangra scene. This night she was getting things going with what I would call deep and dubby-sounding Bhangra. I was loving it, but the growing crowd seemed barely responsive. She even dropped a track using the instrumental (bootleg?) of the super popular "Good Morning" by Panjabi MC and no dancing ensued. But Rekha had other things on her mind. After her set, she announced that the US had just started bombing Iraq. After a really enjoyable set, this news hit like a ton of bricks. As her turntables were taken off the stage, a bit of lover's rock reggae was appropriately being played over the PA in preparation for the Streets to take the stage. A handful of tunes later, the stage lights dimmed and a bassist, drummer, and keyboard/Powerbook player took the stage. The opening strings sample for "Turn the Page" started up, and with the lights still dark and no Mike Skinner in sight, the MC's voice came over the PA to huge cheers from crowd. At this moment I felt like I was about to see the best show of the year, and, accordingly,I started getting goose bumps. The lights then came on strong and out came Skinner with fellow MC Kevin Mark Trail launching into a full on British Hip Hop assault. Skinner was wearing track pants and a Nike shirt, looking more like a certain white American rapper than the Fred Perry-sporting bloke I was expecting. Throughout the set Skinner was all over the stage, drinking a Heineken or proudly sipping a glass of whiskey (I think he had five, but who's counting), pouring beer down the throats and over the faces of people in the front row like a frat boy. He also seemed rather excited to be in NYC, as he had the crowd scream "Newwww Yorrrrk" a few times. He also engaged Kevin Mark Trail in a few beer splashing wars. Skinner even did a bit of crowd surfing. There was nothing that wasn't lively about the set, and the sold out crowd seemed to love every second of it. Personally, the most exciting thing about the set was the intro and the first song. After that, the energy was pretty high, if maybe a bit forced. They walked off the stage, predictably without having played the biggest Streets hit. A few cheers and handclaps later, they came back on and played "Weak Become Heroes". Hail to the drummer who excellently played the UK garage-style beat live, something I have never seen done before. This was exciting, but did not match the excitement level of the opening number. After one encore, they said good night, the lights came up, and everyone left happy they just saw a good show. The Streets may very well be the British hip hop act most welcomed by American audiences, and maybe it's because they're nothing like what's going on over here. Or are we just a bunch of anglophiles who also like hip hop? Whichever, the Streets seem to be here for the long haul.

So far J. J. Abrams and Rian Johnson resemble children at play, remaking the films they fell in love with. As an audience, however, we desire a fuller experience.

As recently as the lackluster episodes I-III of the Star Wars saga, the embossed gold logo followed by scrolling prologue text was cause for excitement. In the approach to the release of any of the then new prequel installments, the Twentieth Century Fox fanfare, followed by the Lucas Film logo, teased one's impulsive excitement at a glimpse into the next installment's narrative. Then sat in the movie theatre on the anticipated day of release, the sight and sound of the Twentieth Century Fox fanfare signalled the end of fevered anticipation. Whatever happened to those times? For some of us, is it a product of youth in which age now denies us the ability to lose ourselves within such adolescent pleasure? There's no answer to this question -- only the realisation that this sensation is missing and it has been since the summer of 2005. Star Wars is now a movie to tick off your to-watch list, no longer a spark in the dreary reality of the everyday. The magic has disappeared… Star Wars is spiritually dead.

Keep reading... Show less
6

This has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it.

It hardly needs to be said that the last 12 months haven't been everyone's favorite, but it does deserve to be noted that 2017 has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it. Other longtime dreamers either reappeared or kept up their recent hot streaks, and a number of relative newcomers established their place in what has become one of the more robust rock subgenre subcultures out there.

Keep reading... Show less
Theatre

​'The Ferryman': Ephemeral Ideas, Eternal Tragedies

The current cast of The Ferryman in London's West End. Photo by Johan Persson. (Courtesy of The Corner Shop)

Staggeringly multi-layered, dangerously fast-paced and rich in characterizations, dialogue and context, Jez Butterworth's new hit about a family during the time of Ireland's the Troubles leaves the audience breathless, sweaty and tearful, in a nightmarish, dry-heaving haze.

"Vanishing. It's a powerful word, that"

Northern Ireland, Rural Derry, 1981, nighttime. The local ringleader of the Irish Republican Army gun-toting comrades ambushes a priest and tells him that the body of one Seamus Carney has been recovered. It is said that the man had spent a full ten years rotting in a bog. The IRA gunslinger, Muldoon, orders the priest to arrange for the Carney family not to utter a word of what had happened to the wretched man.

Keep reading... Show less
10

Aaron Sorkin's real-life twister about Molly Bloom, an Olympic skier turned high-stakes poker wrangler, is scorchingly fun but never takes its heroine as seriously as the men.

Chances are, we will never see a heartwarming Aaron Sorkin movie about somebody with a learning disability or severe handicap they had to overcome. This is for the best. The most caffeinated major American screenwriter, Sorkin only seems to find his voice when inhabiting a frantically energetic persona whose thoughts outrun their ability to verbalize and emote them. The start of his latest movie, Molly's Game, is so resolutely Sorkin-esque that it's almost a self-parody. Only this time, like most of his better work, it's based on a true story.

Keep reading... Show less
7

There's something characteristically English about the Royal Society, whereby strangers gather under the aegis of some shared interest to read, study, and form friendships and in which they are implicitly agreed to exist insulated and apart from political differences.

There is an amusing detail in The Curious World of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn that is emblematic of the kind of intellectual passions that animated the educated elite of late 17th-century England. We learn that Henry Oldenburg, the first secretary of the Royal Society, had for many years carried on a bitter dispute with Robert Hooke, one of the great polymaths of the era whose name still appears to students of physics and biology. Was the root of their quarrel a personality clash, was it over money or property, over love, ego, values? Something simple and recognizable? The precise source of their conflict was none of the above exactly but is nevertheless revealing of a specific early modern English context: They were in dispute, Margaret Willes writes, "over the development of the balance-spring regulator watch mechanism."

Keep reading... Show less
8
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image