Detroits Black Milk touches down in Vancouver [Photos/Review]
Vancouver, B.C. – Black Milk – the producer/MC from Detroit – played to a packed house at Vancouver’s W2 Storyeum as part of the Red Bull MegaHurtz Electronic music festival. It was his third show in as many nights, having played at Mojoes in Whistler, followed by a free show at Fortune Sound Club. Keeping with the theme of his latest offering Album of The Year, which incorporated live-band musicians to complete his compositions, Black Milk was joined on stage by a live drummer, a keyboard player and a DJ.
From the jump it was evident this would be a high-energy show, and Black Milk didn’t disappoint. Playing a set with tracks equally spread out from albums Popular Demand, Tronic and Album of The Year, Black Milk kept the diverse crowd of electronic music fans entertained and dancing, getting the crowd to participate in call and response and not letting the energy wane with too much talking or space between tracks. If most people in the crowd were unfamiliar with Black Milks songs it didn’t matter as his infectious energy and well-chosen set list kept them moving
Black Milk is known for his signature beat sound and for being a master of the MPC 2000 Xl so it was interesting to see how the addition of the live bad elements worked in conjunction with the sample-based instrumentals of earlier albums like Popular Demand and Tronic. The live band worked seamlessly – the drummer and keyboard player jumped in on the instrumental tracks dropped by the DJ, creating a great mix of live band sound combined with traditional hip-hop elements. Many times the original instrumentals were dropped out completely, giving keyboardist AB and drummer Daru space to jam out, and Black Milk a instrumental bed that kept with his signature sound while at the same time diverging into something new.
The best examples of the live band interaction were the tracks “Give The Drummer Some ” in which Daru rocked out, showing incredible chops and adding more energy to the already heavily percussive track, and “Losing Out” which ended up evolving into a drum and bass groove by the time the track was done. “Try” ended up meshing perfectly with the GZA “Liquid Swords” instrumental at the end of the track with crowd-pleasing results.
The best track of the night was Popular Demands’ “Sound The Alarm,” the last song of the performance and another great example of the synergy of the live band.
Written by Kent Stephany for HipHopCanada
Photography by Amalia Judith for HipHopCanada
Photography by Amalia Judith