All that scratching is making me itch!

Review by Paul White

BREAK out the decks, bring on the party. DJ Shadow is first and foremost one the best DJs going in these modern times and tonight (Monday, May 20, 2002), he went all out.

We first saw Shadow at 10pm sharp. Massive cheers erupted from the crowd, as he walked behind the six decks laid out in front of him. Shadow took to the mic and started to talk about how good it feels to be back in London, playing for the people.

He makes a point of thanking the people who 'paid to see me', adding: "I know this gig sold out a long time ago and I just want to thank all those people who spent their hard earned cash to see me, unlike those record company people that got in free." Nice!!

The crowd is then introduced to B+, an artist who has known Shadow for some time, and who has made a 12-minute documentary on four famous drummers - 'The godfathers of the Hip Hop breaks and beats'. The film also features, amongst others, Cut Chemist, who in the film battles with one of the drummers live. Chemist would scratch a rhythm pattern for about eight bars and the drummer would copy, perfectlyI might add, freestylin all the way.

It is then that Shadow takes to the decks and the party really begins. A lot of the tunes that are played are new tracks taken from the forthcoming album, 'Some old shit', as well as some stuff that will never be released - so we were in for a wicked night.

Behind Shadow were three large screens, boasting some crazy visuals. It reminded me of how Coldcut do things live, but with more of a twist. For example, a scene from Mash is seen on the screens, where Radar has a record his loved one sent him, and the record is played and blended into the Shadow set. Sweet!

Shadow then teased the crowd with the opening strings from Organ Grinder, which sent everyone crazy. He then set about playing some real bugged-out beats, ranging from chill style, to, well... near on Drum and Bass.

And the beats kept rolling on as the crowd watched him perform some six-deck mixing. As good as the visuals were and with the beats at their best, you just couldn't take your eyes off him, especially when mixing simultaneously with six decks.

But as with all good things, they must come to an end, and as Shadow said 'see ya', the crowd cried out and stamped for more - which they got. To the delight of us all, the Shadowmister came back out and carried on until midnight, (you fuckin' beauty!!) and play on he did until the last record played it'self out.

Break!!

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