21 November 2007

?uestlove Redeems L.A. Only Slightly, Only Slightly

My ears are still ringing from temporary (I hope) hearing loss, but it was worth it. Last night, I went to Crash Mansion in downtown L.A. for their monthly Soled Out Tuesdays show. It was my first time going, and I had good reason: The headlining DJ of the night was an up-and-comer by the name of ?uestlove. I know, I know. I'm just so "with it" you probably haven't even heard of this young chap yet. Allow me to elucidate.

Obviously, anyone who isn't a complete imbecile realizes The Legendary Roots Crew is perhaps the best live show in hip hop, like, ever. Furthermore, ?uestlove is easily the most recognizable member of the band, aside from MC/frontman Black Thought. ?uestlove is, in many ways, the linchpin driving the nonstop dynamism at Roots shows. When watching him at work, ?uestlove seems to be one with his drum kit, making incredibly precise and masterful love to it riffs with misleading ease. For the record, I can play like that too, you know. I just don't wanna.

Thusly, I had no idea ?uestlove had any DJ-ing abilities. After all, anyone who has seen him drum would likely agree he doesn't really need to pursue any other skills beyond playing the skins. What I'm saying is, ?uestlove is all set in the talent department. And, admittedly, there were a few hiccups here and there during his set. But, it was clear to all in attendance that precision was simply not the point.

?uestlove spun for nearly three hours, which is an indication of the "?uestlove just wants to have fun!" vibe of the night, and also echoes the customary habit of The Roots playing until they are forced off the stage by the venue management. LTNA was lucky enough to be right at the front the whole night, watching ?uestlove spin tracks ranging from Nas to Pink Floyd. Everyone was dry humping and head bopping in bass-driven ecstasy, most of all ?uestlove himself, wearing his trademark pick in his 'fro. Indeed, I was close enough to reach out and fuck his shit up! And, when the occasional mixing snafu did arise, ?uestlove merely grinned sheepishly and hurried to correct his error. In short, the decks are like ?uestlove's Russian whore of a
gumar whom he fucks on the side in his spare time; but, we all know where he really puts his drumstick, at the end of the day. Still, he manages to give it to that strumpet pretty good, for what it's worth.

Toward the end of his set, there was an extended James Brown mix, complete with ?uestlove sharing some classic dance moves behind the decks that would make even The Godfather of Soul quite proud. I think I would have fainted from sheer delight if his entourage went all out and had someone bring out a cape to help him off the stage. A great time was had by all, no doubt. A great enough time that I can forgive L.A. for being a total shitbox, at least until I hear someone say something stupid.

The over/under is 43 seconds. Get your wallets out.

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