Ejector Seat Presents... Hip Hop Night - November 2005
Hot Sauce + Rusty Sheriff + The Syndicate + Hip Hop Farmers
Saturday night at the Joiners. Hip Hop night is bound to be heaving, isn’t it? No – it’s not. I’m wondering why this is and the first band provide me with a clue – three blokes get on stage, one sits at a drum kit, another at a keyboard and the third picks up a double bass. Oh I see -it’s jazz night! Well that sort of explains it. But then two others get on stage – one takes up position behind a set of decks, the other picks up a mic and Hot Sauce begin to deliver their jazz-based hip hop grooves. And then I wonder, again, why the Joiners isn’t heaving. This is just what I was hoping hip hop night would be like. The band plays a tight jazz-tinged backing, over which the lyricist layers his dynamic, varied vocal. It’s a shame the DJ doesn’t get more involved because, after a couple of tracks, there’s a need for a bit of something else to make their tunes different. The only thing distinguishing them at the moment is any variety in the delivery of the lyrics, which are, to their detriment, performed in an American accent. Following Hot Sauce is Rusty Sheriff, who proceeds to spend around 40 minutes scratching and generally playing around over the top of a lap-top based backing track. This may seem like a good idea when he’s practicing in his bedroom in front of his friends, but I am neither a friend of his, nor am I in his bedroom. I am in a live music venue on a Saturday night and this is, quite frankly, self-indulgent bollocks. There are one or two moments – a few seconds of a sample that he uses and a good mix here and there, but they are far too few and far between. Were I not there to review the evening, I would have followed my friends out the door at this point. As it turned out, I’m glad I had to stay. Why is that? Two words - The Syndicate. A five piece band fronted by two MCs who have the lyrical style, diversity and flow that makes for good live hip hop. The band produce a funky, soulful backing, with the addition of two extra vocals. The first, coming from the guitarist, a distinctive, smooth tone that plays off the rapping perfectly and the second in the form of a ‘special guest’ human beat-box that provides some of the elements that, as they have no DJ, are lacking of a traditional hip hop act. The other good thing about The Syndicate is that they look like they’re enjoying it as much as I am and you really get the feeling they are performing as much for you as they are for themselves. The Hip Hop Farmers finish the night with their very raw, guitar-based sound. Lyrics are spat back and forth between the two MCs as the band produce their, almost rock-like, backing. It’s accessible music - they’re talking about ‘normal’ things, in a style that becomes a bit too normal at times – it doesn’t flow quite as well as it could – but they have a fun vibe to them and are a more than adequate end to the evening.