Ugly Duckling @Witloof Bar, Brussels

Previewed this event, now here’s a bit of a review.

I put in a lot of energy at this show. I consider myself in general to be a pretty generous audience member, and I was in full effect on this night. I felt I needed to be. Fortunately, they made it so easy, being so close didn’t hurt, and getting props for my efforts didn’t hurt either. I did my part, and they did theirs.

They have been touring for a long time, and it shows. They have a polished (yet spontaneous feeling) show. Getting a guest MC up for the track ‘Shoot Your Shot’, and a fly honey to dance with for ‘Pick-up Line’ keeps the audience engagement meaningful – not to mention plenty o’call-and-response (even if it was just a few of us responding).

Ugly Duckling bring so much energy to their live show, no matter how cramped the venue, how small the crowd, and how middling the median English level. This night was no exception. For the years and sweat they’ve put into it, I feel like these guys should be rocking bigger crowds at bigger venues, but they seem proud of their dedication to funky old school beats and rhymes, irrespective of fads and trends. For the most part their live show reflects this admirable belief, although the tone of their new songs (off the recently-released ‘Audacity’) is darker than in the past.

So Craig knows what’s up:

Young Einstein’s grown up, still chopping up beats, laying down horn samples, and scratching overtop with poise and flare beyond his years. Like Queen Elizabeth, I couldn’t get my eyes off his gold chain.

Overall the show was great, though the poor mixing or acoustics meant the sound didn’t sound right.

They closed the encore down with Journey to Anywhere. Absolutely one of my favorite tracks too. When I worked as a camp counsellor getting the kids to calm the fuck down (after an overstimulating day of hyperactive creativity and seeing girls in bathing suits) was an important job. We called this part of the day ‘Relaxations’.

My favorite thing to do was to get them all lying down on the floor in the dark, leading them through some relaxation exercises and then popping this track on – because if I’ve exposed those kids to oh-so-fresh hip hop that references Judy Blume, Scooby-doo, Sesame Street, Goonies and so on… well, I think I’ve done my camp counsellor bit to make the children of today into the good people of tomorrow.

And despite the frustrations showing through on their new tracks: they’re still doing their bit to bring the good times to the good people, and have a good time while doing it. 10 years on, Yudee’s still on Fresh Mode.

Note: Filip took some photos of the show, if he emails them to me, then I’ll post them.

2017-09-14T08:44:05+00:00February 16 2009|