K’naan, Shad and Chin at the Malkin Bowl (Live) [Photos/Review]
Vancouver, B.C. – It can’t get more West Coast than this: a rainy evening at Stanley Park, featuring both hometown heroes and extended guests. K’naan was joined by Shad – who’s settled down on our fair coast for the time being – and Chin Injeti, a local favorite.
Chin set the tone for an evening of intimate outdoor performances in the Malkin Bowl. The rain began minutes before Chin came on stage, and the crowd was either equipped with rain gear or huddled under massive spruce trees. Park vegetation filled with sounds of guitar, drums, violin and melodious vocals. Chin is world-renowned for his ability to collaborate on tracks that showcase advanced production technology, but his own music has a sound that is rooted in unprocessed acoustics. He performed songs such as “Who I am,” “Love Is not War,” and his new single “Fiya Fiya.” Chin has s a sound that is passionate and truthful. In addition to setting the show’s tone with unfeigned music, Chin also set the tone for the all-ages format of the show when he brought out his sons to wave at the audience. Throughout the crowd, kids bobbed around in the raincoats, dancing to the beat.
Shad took the stage next, and his old-school hip-hop sound transitioned the night into a more upbeat dance party as people started leaving their shelters and heading out to dance in the mud. Shad is always a crowd-pleaser, not just for his dialogic, conversational style of rapping, but his undying positivity. He brought some sweetness with “Rose Garden,” and as the bass guitar broke down the funk, he brought the heady virtue with “Compromise,” proclaiming that “It’s a fight but we just can’t compromise.” One great thing about Shad is that he takes it deep and spiritual but always gets down, keeping the tone light. He jumped on the guitar for “Rock to it,” then injected a freestyle into the middle of the track before seamlessly picking it up again. During “Quest for Glory” Shad slipped on one of the puddles forming on the stage and fell flat on his back, but never dropped a lyric and got up smiling. He finished with the popular “Old Prince” and finally “Keep Shinin,.”
By the time K’naan hit the stage, the place was packed and the rain truly no longer mattered. He opened with “ABCs” before moving into “I Come Prepared” and “America,” all songs which are collaborations but he pulled off nicely by himself. “If Rap Gets Jealous” brought the rock in, and “Bang Bang” moved it into pop. “TIA” came next, and then K’naan slowed it right down. On lonely keys he led the crowd into “Take a Minute” by getting them on the melodious building blocks of repeated “Ya, ya yas.” He told the story of when he wrote the track, reminiscing about his time at Bob Marley’s studio and the feeling in his heart when he first heard those piano chords. He softly repeated, on the crowd’s continuing chants, “It ain’t every day that you get to give/ It ain’t everyone that gets to live,” and it seemed that everyone, from the trees to the raindrops to the last little child in the place, was moved.
After that extended moment, the energy was back up. K’naan came with the jokes, rubbing his forehead and armpits with a towel which he proceeded to throw into the crowd- problem was, 2 guys ended up fighting over it, not the ladies. This led into the ever-popular but perhaps overplayed “Wavin Flag,” and an interesting rendition of U2’s “Stuck in a Moment.” The closing song was “Soobax,” a rousing end to an emotional night. As people disappeared into the dark wet night, it was clear they were taking something with them – it was a night for movement, a night for change, and a night to enjoy the simpler things in life.
Photography by Scott Alexander
Photography by Scott Alexander for HipHopCanada.
Written by Christabel Shaler and Amalia Judith for HipHopCanada.