Call me Russ L

GDFAF #7: Four Kornerz/Terri Walker/Natalie Williams/Ty/Seven (12/10/7)

Posted in Going Deaf For A Fortnight 2007, Music by Russ L on 14 October, 2007

It was back to Birmingham Town Hall with me for Goodfaff night number seven. “Best Of British Urban” (sorted by Punch Records) was the target, featuring Ty, Terri Walker, and a bunch of people I didn’t know to discover. I go to a lot less urban gigs than I do other sorts of gigs primarily because there are less urban gigs than other sorts of gigs happening; it always amuses me, though, to see the way “live music as an unusual novelty” shines through (I can’t really define how, but you can definitely feel it – not from the acts, really but definitely from the audience and general air of promotion and organisation. I really should do a Wittgenstein and be silent about things I can’t effectively express. I’m just making myself look stupid).

So, I arrived to find a DJ playing some records, who turned out to be E Double D. He continued throughout between acts and did a bit of turntablism here and there. Despite being hampered by malfunctioning equipment, he was doing the old scratching and mixing without earphones. Craziness. We also had Sacha Brooks (your typical Radio-presenter-y sort) filling gaps as compere.

Naturally, the first live act at ‘Best Of British Urban’ was from Switzerland. Well, of course. Exactly what is says on the tin. Seven he was called, and bland/slick Justin Timberlake-ish pop he played. Yawn.

Ty was great fun. His beats could have done with being a bit louder, but great fun. Conscious hip hop, and he’s very charismatic – bored of being unable to see the crowd from onstage, he decided to wander amongst us (ah, cordless mics) and ended up sitting down at a table and rapping to a resolutely stonefaced woman. It was funnier than it sounds.

I’d never heard of Natalie Williams before, but she seemed to be the big draw here for quite a few people. Jazz-soul sort of stuff – first-album Amy Winehouse feels like a cheap comparison but is vaguely in the right area. The first few songs were a bit dreary and droning, but it all really warmed up towards the end. An off-shoot/half-cover of Chick Corea’s “Spain” (I think that’s the one I mean) was great, and the “Boy/Lady dance for me” refrain from her last song (during which she did indeed provoke a dance-contest amongst some brave or foolish people) is still swirling around in my head. She seemed to be a likeable person, too.

If we’re talking likeable, though, it’s handy that Terri Walker was next. She just seems lovely, rambling on between songs and unable to stop herself bursting into laughter at her own dancing during them. She was backed by just an acoustic guitar and percussion, anyway, turning her usual R’n’B style turned to acoustic soul but still overflowing with energy. No “Loving You Still” but maybe that wouldn’t have suited the instrumentation (dunno about that, actually. I can sort of see it but sort of not). Great stuff, although I would love to see a normal/full band set from her at some point.

Finally we had Anglo-Nigerian group Four Kornerz. I was tired, but their R’n’B with some gospel edges and a very confident delivery was enjoyable. I’m not sure any songs particularly stuck out as memorable, but it was pleasant enough to pass the time.

So, there we are. Once more, I apologise for the poor quality (and lateness! Bad goodfaffing form, I realise) of this one. The actual going to the gigs isn’t getting to me this year, but the writing is. Hopefully I’ll pick up soon.

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