Review of Q-Tip at Roundhouse, London, 14th March 2009
Posted by Broken Soul Boy
Yesterday something spectacular happened in London town. Q Tip actually did a concert in the UK! Last time that happened was over a decade back; good things come to those who wait, but that was one seriously long wait! And he came through with style and passion, giving the hip hop heads in the Roundhouse venue, the live fix they needed of the timeless Q Tip joints, and even more amazing, the greatest tunes of the legendary Tribe Called Quest. And for that, this will rank as one of the best hip hop concerts I have ever been to.
Q Tip was giving the performance his all on stage. Right at the start, he came out on stage like some wrestler, posing some random superstar moves, before he jumped into his first track which was Shaka with the twisted melody. And he had a habit of strange expressions and interesting (if long!) intros into some of the joints. There was one moment where he continually made out he was about to say something, only to pause to let the crowd to make noise instead – it seemed to go on for ages; it was building up to something, and then finally he says ‘I just wanna ride’…and the band and DJ play Lets Ride, a massive reaction for one of his sickest joints! Being the first time ever I have actually seen Q Tip perform, he is more of an entertainer than I had realised.
Then in another long spoken word intro, which he concluded by chatting about a girl named ‘Bonita’, then the band went straight into Bonita Applebum – everyone was going mad for this tune!
((Review continues with a video link after the jump.))
Mostly the first half of the show was about his solo material, and the sound levels unfortunately did not do justice to the band element, not fully matching the potentially great combination with the band on stage – especially during parts of the show where he was focusing on material from the Renaissance album, where the band’s performance of tracks did not resemble the tunes we know them as. It was really when the classics kicked in, somehow the sound system fixed up, the band, dj and q tip all settled into a great act and that’s when the atmosphere got mental.
The biggest highlight for me was when Electric Relaxation dropped – the most infectious hook ever, and Q Tip getting the whole crowd to sway left to right and left along to the beat, was amazing and a glorious sight – even if the whole venue couldn’t synchronise with each other!
And then he performed more classics ending with Scenario and Award Tour, Award Tour got the venue moshpitting, and the three rewinds got the crowd aggravated! Q Tip knew performing that track was going to cause a storm, so the gig DJ, Statik Selektah, teased the crowd with as many rewinds as he could get away with!
Also at one point, Statik Selektah hung an Arsenal T shirt out with the name Q Tip emblazoned at the back; guessing that’s Gilles Peterson’s doing, him being a well known Arsenal supporter, trying to get Q Tip on his side!
Other classics performed included Vivrant Thing, Find My Way, but no Breathe And Stop. It was also great to hear Fever get performed, and he mentioned quite a bit about J Dilla in one his stage speeches. Move was also surprisingly an anthem for the crowd. He ended the show with Life Is Better (no Norah Jones on stage though) – but he extended this out very long to ensure he communicated this was the end of a momentous gig.
And it was very momentous. I felt at the end of it, it was more than a Q Tip gig, it was also a Tribe Called Quest gig, even if it was Q Tip solo. And the fact that some timeless classics were performed, as well as an entertaining and unique stage character, has made this concert a great showpiece in consolidating why Q Tip has been such a historic figure for hip hop. A concert I thought would never happen, but now will never be forgotten.
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