Reflection Eternal with OkayCity and HeatWave (Live) [Review + Photos]
Vancouver, B.C. – Those Vancouverites who dragged their rainy-day asses into the Vogue Theatre to see Reflection Eternal might have felt a little let down – Hi-Tek was absent – but the show went on and it was great. DJ Clockwork filled in for the popular producer Hi-Tek on the Revolutions Per Minute performance, to promote Reflection Eternal’s second album.
Local act OkayCity opened the show and they were nothing if not okay. They put on a high-energy show with some banghra beats blended in, tight matching flows and a rawkus rendition of “Okay”, “City”, call and response. Following them was HeatWave with guests -including Fizal Stars and Lamar Ashe – who performed varying styles of hip-hop with “Paper Paper,” “Mother Africa” and “One Life to Live” among the highlights.
Kweli hit the stage ahead of schedule, opening with “Move Something” while the crowd responded to his demand of hands in the air; projected images on the screen behind him depicted Kweli rapping on street corners while dazzling women looked on. Nobody really does it like Kweli: his is an effortless movement of the people amid Hi-Tek’s eclectic musical samples, juxtaposed on heavy bass. His is an outpouring of revolution – “if one of us ain’t free, then we all to blame” – which can border on the liturgical but is light and clever enough to stay fun.
When Kweli spit some a cappella lines from “Eternalists,” he reminded us all why we love Train of Thought. He melted a couple of hearts with “Hot Thing/In The Mood” from his solo album Eardrum and and he even threw in a couple bonus tracks like “Old School,” a Danger Doom collab from years past. It was meaningful to hear him pay tribute to the recently deceased Guru with some Mass Appeal, and the “new shit” he rocked was definitely an incentive to check out the new Reflection Eternal album. “Strangers (Paranoid)” had him in and out of double time, while “In This World” welcomed listeners to his “longitude and latitude,” a peek inside the artist’s mind.
As part of a four-song encore, listeners were treated to Jaylib’s “Raw Shit,” “Africa Dream” from Train of Thought, “We Pullin out Tonight” from Beautiful Struggle, and a solo version of Black Star’s “Respiration.” Disappointment was most certainly kept at bay, and there wasn’t an unhappy face in the joint. It would have been really nice to see Reflection Eternal, but a Talib Kweli show is always a treat.
Written by Amalia Judith for HipHopCanada
Photos by Jamie Sands for HipHopCanada (http://www.jsandsphotography.com)
Additional reporting by Aaron Spires
Photography by Jamie Sands