So last night, I went down to the Avalon in Hollywood to see an acquaintance, mr. DJ Shadow. I have been a DJ Shadow fan for a very very long time. When I say fan, I really mean "super-fan" as The Private Press is easily one of my favorite albums of all-time, and "Blood On The Motorway" is easily one of my favorite tracks of all-time. I have been lucky enough to work with him and hang out with him, and there is no other musician I respect more than him. When "The Outsider" (new album, out now) was being prepared, I was a little nervous, I like Shadow for his electonic/rock type aspects, not too keen on the hip-hop side. But I had faith, when you are as talented as DJ Shadow you could do a country record and it would still be "shadow-esque." And "shadow-esque" is something really special. So I have been living with "The Outsider" now for some time, and reading the confusion on the internet, and even Mr. Shadow himself spoke out the change in direction. I was confused, I wasn't upset or nothing, but it was definitely not a record that melted me upon hearing it. One track did and it's "This Time (I'm Gonna Try It My Way)." So upon going to this show last night, it was mainly out of faith, I wouldn't miss it for the world, but I wasn't looking forward to it. I just didn't want to see people take the new stuff the wrong way, or have a weird vibe about it. I arrived, watched Lateef the Truth Speaker do a hip-hop set, and was a little nervous for one of my idols to come on. Alas, the clock strikes 10:45 and the beginning notes of "The Outsider Intro," come in and I get pumped. It is a great fucking intro, no doubt. Shadow came on to a roaring applause and started out with a classic, phew. The set was relentless...Shadow mixed his songs perfectly, and formed medleys that were out of his world. By the last song at 12:30 I was bummed to go. It was a mix of Radiohead "The Gloaming" (Remix) that was never officially released, UNKLE's "Nursery Rhyme" (feat. Badly Drawn Boy) and UNKLE's "Rabbit In The Headlights" (feat. Thom Yorke), it was just too fucking creative for my little brain. Another hightlight that I have to mention is the amazing track of the new album, "Seein' Thangs" (feat. David Banner), it is a great track and the video that accompanied it (shown via 9 screens on the stage) was pretty hectic, and I loved that Banner was decked out with a sweet Raiders hat, gotta love the bay.
Reflecting back on the night, one thing sticks out. The shitty opus that is Pitchfork Media said "The Outsider does exactly what the titles says; alienates everybody who ever was a DJ Shadow fan." Pretty fucking ruthless. At one of the few intermissions in the show, where Shadow gathers his thoughts and changes tempo, he spoke about his records. He stated that a lot of people really love Endtroducing, and others really love The Private Press. Just like some of the audience came for Hip Hop, and others came for Rock, but what was best is he said, "if you are a fan of mine, you will recognize the quality of anything new." This did not sound cocky, he was just saying that if you are a true fan of his music, or anybody elses music who is an amazing artist, you know that whatever is put out, if the respect is there, then it will be quality. Shadow respects his music, everything is fine-tuned and put together with perfection in mind.
DJ Shadow = Quality
And for anybody that hates on "The Outsider," well that is fine, you are entitled, but you need to know that DJ Shadow is at the top of his genre, whatever that genre happens to be at the time.
Shadow doesn't like bootlegs or "stealing" music, so due to that, no track for this post, go buy the new album please...please...PLEASE.