Review: DJ Shadow/Cut Chemist: The Hard Sell @ 930 Club 1/24


I have seen my fair share of turntablism going back to my days in Cincinnati at Scribble Jam and seeing the Animal Crackers host weekly performances and MC battles with my homey Ian. I had also had some experience with DJ Shadow’s Endtroducing and Cut Chemist’s work with J5, as well as hearing all about their collaboration and underground cult classic Brainfreeze. But I had no idea what I was getting into when I took in The Hard Sell, the perfomance by DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist at 930 Club.

After a opening sesh by Kid Koala, (unfortunately only caught the last song-I hear he is amazing) Shadow and Cut took the stage to a sold out house, delivered some pleasantries and introduced a video to explain what we were about to see. The video gave a short history of the 45 record (7inch) and explained that Shadow and Cut would play their entire set consisting of only original presses of 45 records (wow-apparently Shadow has the largest collection in the world). Watch the video here. Each DJ split up eight turntables as well as sampling processors and effects pedals below their decks.

To make matters even more interesting, as ambient music videos played on huge screens behind them, their visual guy, Ben Stokes (also responsible for intro video) was also splicing live footage of the two at work with several cameras set-up around their equipment. He did an amazing job and is really talented. Cut was also wearing a wrist-cam-yes, a wristcam-providing close-ups of his scratching and knob twisting. Sick.

Then there was the playlist, which was mesmerizing. Spanning generations of music, Shadow and Cut displayed their eclectic stylings and historical appreciation with each track. There was a flow to it as well, delving into modern hip-hop to old school rap (Digables, Pharcyde, DeLaSoul) then jumping to world music (Afro and Brazilian beats) and rock (Metallica, Foo Fighters) then moving to doo-wop then new wave and back to hip-hop again. Wish I had the setlist it was so varied and intricate you couldn’t keep track. I also vaguely remember unique versions of ‘I Only Have Eyes for You’ and ‘Break on Through’ by The Doors.

There were some unique moments, like when they came out from behind the decks and sat down for what looked like a dinner break. A real surprise came at the end when they both strapped on 45inch personal turntables and mixers (think like strapping on a guitar) and played a hard rock song I can’t remember (Final Countdown by Europe perhaps?).

All in all, it was easily one of the most amazing shows I have seen recently.

Special thanks to Brandon Wu for the above photos. He snapped some other great ones here.

UPDATE! Shadow has live video from the show on his MySpace page! There are some more clips here. Check this shit out and tell me it’s not ill! I dare you.


11 Responses to “Review: DJ Shadow/Cut Chemist: The Hard Sell @ 930 Club 1/24”

  1. very good blog!!!

    You see video and download video here!!!

  2. Can’t wait until tomorrow. Cleveland show should be just as great I hope.

  3. wow. I couldnt disagree more. DJ Shadow was so completely not into it – they both seemed bored and tired of doing the same set night after night after night. On DJ Shadow’s last tour, he was working harder than both of them combined, and putting alot more effort into trying to connect with the crowd. that show was uninspired and disappointing, straight up.

  4. As a novice spin-battle-goer, I was more than impressed. Seems “J” here in the comments is a little J-did, which is totally fine… but from what Jess3 and I saw, it was poppin’

    Said another way: if that is them on a bad day/disengaged, I may not be able to handle the full-throttle.

    Thanks for the recap post Patrick… I will link you laters once I do my writeup. Kinda slow to the draw on dat. -L.

  5. dionysianprincess Says:

    I really wish I was able to hit this up – you always know the hot spots. I’ll listen more carefully next time:)

  6. i thought kid koala, their opener, was dope. i heard a lot about him beforehand and my expectations were set rather high, but he did not disappoint. he took some risks (and at times it seemed like his set was a bit hurried), but even still he got the crowd hyped. like the main act that followed, he covered a broad genre of music and displayed some crucial turntablism.

    as for Shadow and Cut Chemist, it was definitely apparent that Cut Chemist was more actively vibing with the packed show. he was into the music and interacting with the crowd more so than Shadow, for sure. even though they qualified their show beforehand by saying it was all about “having fun”, i wanted to hear maybe a more classic, expected, or even “safer” set of beats. it’s my own bias that i brought to the show. while they did that to a degree, it definitely leaned more towards the experimental and “fun” side. thankfully by then i had left front and center to meet with friends at the bar and, well, you can probably guess the rest from there…

  7. Just came back from the show at the Wiltern in LA. That venue sucks ass. I will never again go to a show where I have to sit in my seat the whole time. Whats the point?

    Fat beats and geniusness all around, tho. The shout to De La was appreciated and enjoyed.

  8. theoutsidersucked Says:

    These two are legends, but the setlist was wack.

  9. […] reviews here and here by people who know what they are talking […]

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  11. […] An amazing show is coming to 930 Club this Wednesday July 16th. DJ Shadow & Cut Chemist present The Hard Sell. I have seen the show before and reviewed it extensively here. […]

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