Thursday, May 25, 2006

YOYOYOYOYO... Spank Rock London is go.

Tuesday night at the wretched Barfly saw chaotic scenes not witnessed there since, oh, last weekend. Really, though, the fuss and crush brought to mind previous musical paradigm shimmys like the celebrated first appearance of The Strokes in the same venue. Now, I'm not expecting the NME to totally reconfigure their editorial as a consequence but it wouldn't come as a surprise if "YoYoYoYoYo" got picked up by a major and given a marketing hammering over the coming months.

Would-be hip hop fans have been crying out for something fun, something that isn't simply about the crack hustle and Spank Rock certainly deliver on this without falling into the high-minded traps set by self-righteous backpackers. But there's far more to them. Musically, they understand that hip-hop has always thrived from appropriation (what is sampling if it isn't a form of appropriation?) Live, they combine the hip hop gig with the DJ set, performing for a stretch and DJing for a while, then following with another burst of performance. At the Barfly things were a little different, its hardly a nightclub after all. But, still MC Naeem Juwan saw fit to hang around the stage hyping his DJ after the show, sitting on speakers, bringing girls onto the stage. It's not radical but its an important point: the democracy of clubland as opposed to the rockist focus on the star performer as is usual in hip hop.

He's is a star, of course. Effortlessly charismatic and, whilst its been noted that he's hardly giving Big L a run for his money on the mic, Juwan has one of those voices that mean so much in hip hop.

Finally, it shouldn't come as a surprise if the rock kids are drawn to this. It's everything that rock'n'roll is supposed to be: sexual magnetism, music that starts a party, music that upsets your parents, music that might get your girl in trouble. Compare this with the life-sapping dreariness of The Longcut, who TUNETOURIST also witnessed recently, with their heads down focus on worthy, epic guitar noise and harmonically challenged singer (shouter?) and ask yourself which one really embodies the spirit of rock'n'roll?


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