Ladi6 + KLP at Goodgod, Sydney 26/07/13
OK, first things first, before I dig into the review. Like many of my Kiwi bredren and sistren, I have a deep abiding love for the one they call Ladi6. Having followed throughout her career, from the early days of Shelahroc, her many featured artist roles on other’s tracks, especially her star turns on Shapeshifter and 50hz‘ productions, and a couple of killer hooks for Fat Freddy’s Drop and Scribe, through her work with Verse Two, her lengthy period between this era and her much awaited debut Time Is Not Much, then her second effort, and now leading into her third solo outing, I’ve always held her up as one of NZ’s finest singers. And on her day, with the right songs, she still is. Just not this night, and not with these songs. That’s the rub. If I’m honest, while I dig the new stuff, there’s only two tracks from her solo work that really blow my mind, one of which was a collabo with The Nextmen-absolute showstopper, but seemingly it was never recorded, and has disappeared from her catalogue, and the other, ‘Walk Right Up’ a charming Reggae style number which she chose not to perform this night. All those other amazing collabo tunes, which are so close to my heart, she’ll rarely, if ever, perform live. It’s fair enough, I get her wanting to make the show all about her solo stuff, it’s just a little sad.
But even sadder still, that wasn’t the half of it. Ladi6 and Goodgod. Hmmm. Not a good combo. Especially when the Goodgod peeps, in their infinite wisdom, chose to schedule the show between the hours of 8 and 10:30 pm. On a Friday. On a Thursday, sure, but c’mon people, it’s a Friday, a night out. And I’m talking full, ugly lights blasting at 10:40, “move along thar” vibes, barely allowing the punters to finish off what was probably their first drink! Wow. I’m guessing quite a few punters would have missed the show completely, and a few would been miffed to have only caught a few songs for their quite a bit of hardearned. From what I understand-I might be wrong-but this decision had not been made by the artist’s or promoters, but the bar managers, and I really can’t for the life of me understand why. I’m guessing that they had one of their rnb night’s on afterwards, and wanted to clear the room to then refill with the heavy drinkers rather than the polite sippers that were the Ladi fans, but damn guys, it’s a bit of a rough call! No respect. And no amount of warning on Ladi’s fb page (which I’d been lucky enough to spot) of the early times would have been enough to change most people’s expectation of what would be a safe time to rock up to see a well loved international artist perform her headline show.
And, as you’d expect, this tight scheduling had a major effect on the show. As a direct result the main support, a Goodgod regular, KLP, played to a basically empty room, with air thick with judgement from those that had got there early. I’m a fan of her work, she’s got a good ear for production, has a nice tone somewhat reminiscent of peak era Trip Hop, and is clearly well-connected what with finagling a tune from Ta-ku and some choice collaborators and remixers, but her live show needs a little development. Playing with just a drummer and her laptop providing the back beat, there wasn’t a lot to grab onto. The drummer was damn good, nailing every nuance, but I couldn’t help but feel that the “show” would have been exponentially improved with a couple more players, maybe a bass and keyboard player. It’s a common affliction of electronic artists bringing their work into the live arena, but a little tweaking and it’d be a tight show. Unfortunately there was also another common issue, that of a lack of dynamics. It was true particularly of KLP, when the singer is the Artist, rather than the band, they don’t tend to stop singing. A bit of a jam out here, a drum break here, just those moments where tension can be released, loosening up the vibe, rather than coming off like you’re just running through your tunes. She’d do well to have stuck around to watch Ladi, as she artfully managed this balancing act, kneeling down on the stage, as if to hide away, while her band jammed out. But despite the less than convivial surroundings, and rushed nature of the set, I enjoyed it, it’s clear KLP has a bright future if she continues to play her cards as well as she has thus far.
So then, Ladi. Thankfully, right at the time that her show was about to start, a couple of big surges of people piled in the door, instantly filling the intimate space. Her easy rapport with the crowd spoke volumes for the year’s she’ s been on the road doing her do, she certainly knows her stage craft. Decked out in a billowing hooded onesie type thing, big boots and sunnies, she was a sight to behold, with her effusive gesticulating working in tandem to create a larger than life stage persona. Her band, comprised of her partner Parks on decks, Julian Dyne on drums and Brandon Haru on keys, kept their style a bit more lowkey, letting their grooves speak for them, although I’d quite like one of those Young, Gifted & Broke crewnecks that the keys dude was sporting! As mentioned earlier, it’s always going to be a bit bittersweet watching Ladi run through her solo stuff, but it actually went a bit beyond that, maybe due to the rush, but it just seemed a touch samey. Good and all, but samey, fairly similar flavours on show, rather than if she’d thrown at least ‘Walk Right Up’ in. There was a rap, with a bit of a crowd participation element too, but again, it seemed to be adversely affected by the time constraints, cutting it off barely after it had started. Props for giving it a crack, but it didn’t quite work, and felt forced. The other big downside of the time issue was the lack of a encore, as they’d been given the hurry up. She apologised for it all, but the damage was done, through no fault of her own. I can’t say for sure how much show would have been improved had there not been the time issue, but Ima guess, a whole bunch.
So, yeah, sadly, disappointment all round. Much love to Ladi for giving it a shot, but not the best I’ve seen from this talented lady.
To whomever was responsible for the decision to finish it at 10:30-pretty weak mate, poor choice. It was, what’s the word? Oh, yes, a schamozzle.
But music, and it’s performance being subjective, I hit up Kristie from Sydney’s best Soul blog, The Kitten Jam, who attended the show as well for her thoughts;
“New Zealand’s favourite hip hop femcee and singer Ladi6 and her band graced Sydney’s Goodgod on Friday night. As the time drew near for the enigmatic Ladi6 to take the stage the room rapidly filled with lovers of the Kiwi’s work. Anticipation was high as Ladi6 was here to showcase and debut tracks from her un-named 3rd album, which features tracks produced by prominent Detroit born music producer Waajeed. Her brand of nu-soul fused hip hop did not disappoint, which is little wonder considering the powerful stage presence the front woman Ladi has. She commanded the attention of everyone in the crowd and they followed her lead, as a preacher does with their congregation. The audience embraced the new tracks and were devoted to every note she sung and every beat the band dropped. This was one tightly run show, wrapping up at the early-bird-special hour of 1030pm sharp with lights up – the only sour point in an otherwise stellar show”
Check HERE more pics from the show…
Here’s her two latest singles;