Review: Renegades of Rhythm – DJ Shadow & Cut Chemist

– by Luke McLean

An insightful review of DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist’s recent show in Perth. Not just any show though, try six turntables and ‘synchronised’ spinning through a collection of hip hop pioneer Afrika Bambaataa’s personal records…

Two gentlemen walk out on stage after a long wait before a very eager crowd at Perth’s Metro City.

DJ Shadow, a highly acclaimed DJ and music producer, known very well for his album Entroducing and his dominance in instrumental production. The second, Cut Chemist, a participant of a Latin funk band known as Ozomatli and also a former member of Jurassic 5.

The Renegades of Rhythm tour is created and completely built on the foundations of one man’s historic record collection.

A man who is to be considered one of the biggest influences in hip hop culture, Afrika Bambaataa.

From the South Bronx of New York City, he is a legend among his peers and famous for beginning the spread of hip hop to the rest of the world.

So, the night begins with ¬†an introduction of both party members, Shadow and Chemist… and a history lesson though brief, very informative. Then, the tables begin to turn.

The set kicks off with chilled break-beat instrumentals that are interrupted every five minutes with the infamous scratch, then paraded before the crowd in a tandem juggling of records. They continue throughout the night to spin history making, culture influencing music and everything from soul, disco, funk, electro funk and Latin big band jazz.

The sounds of hands wailing tambourines and battering djembes despite the fact it was a DJ set, could be none the richer in this day and age. The majority of times we go out and see just a man behind two CDJ’s and a mixer and we expect to hear drum and bass, dubstep, house, techno or trap to be on the cards for the evening.

But with two men and six turntables, the surprises just continued to come.

A 1980’s drum machine makes an appearance in the hands of Cut Chemist, the music goes quiet and the nostalgia begins to creep up. A big smile runs across his face with a dorky sounding kick and snare to back it up. Shadow grows weary of mixing over something Grandmaster Flash used to spit over, so decides to follow suite with a much more advanced machine and begins banging away some nasty rhythms, this time with two drum sticks in his hands.

The show soon closes to an end with nothing but satisfied viewers and cheering music lovers.

The pair over the course of the night both had excellent timing and a wonderful rapport with the crowd, both charming, passionate about music and both very respectful of its past. If we are ever be witness to those records in public again, we can only hope that it is in the tumultuous company that is the legendary DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist.

Photo Credit: Zev Weinstein

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