When it rains, it pours. Enjoy.
By Giselle Zado Wasfie
THE LAST TIME I MET OUTKAST WAS IN NEW YORK
City, about six years ago and a good month before Stankonia was released. They had a one-off show at SOB’s in TriBeCa, and the buzz was incredible. So was the line outside.
When artists promise to take hip-hop “to the next level,” it always seems like a hollow phrase. But here we were, witnessing an actual breakthrough that leaks of “B.O.B.,” “So Fresh, So Clean” and “Ms. Jackson” foretold. Puffy, Lenny Kravitz, Goodie Mob (helping with backup duties)—and pretty much every industry cat with the juice to get tickets—was in attendance. The duo of André “3000” Benjamin and Antwan “Big Boi” Patton was peaking. And things were about to change.
I’d managed to finagle myself backstage, where I chilled in the small dressing room with the show’s cast and crew …
By Si Hawkins
IT’S 1:20 A.M., 10 minutes before Klaxons are due on stage for one of their most important gigs of the year, and they’re locked in the back of a tour van. For the previous five minutes, the youthful three-piece has been explaining to a tired, emotional and slightly annoying acquaintance called Med that he should (a) get the fuck out of the van and let them get this interview finished and (b) leave the door ajar, so they don’t get locked in. He stares back, blankly. Med quite possibly stands for “medication.”
Ultimately Med gets the first bit right, but the second slips his addled mind and he launches the door shut with admirable force, leaving the remaining seven people squashed within — three Klaxons, their manager (who, perhaps understandably, will leave her job after this weekend), a drummer …
Junior Boys, Jeremy Greenspan and Matt Didemus, are huddling into a deserted Italian restaurant on the outskirts of NYC’s Chinatown called The Grotto.
It’s horribly cramped inside, offering a tiny, narrow space framed with oppressive dark wood walls, shiny brass-trimmed portholes and creepy dim lamps shaped like ghostly porcelain ladies. The outside deck, however, is pleasantly roomy: Tall green shrubbery—a Manhattan rarity—manages to eclipse the gritty surrounding apartments. The Bee Gees’ “Staying Alive” buzzes faintly through fist-sized speakers.
Like most electronic artists, Greenspan and Didemus don’t look famous. Their 2004 debut, Last Exit, was released to gushing critical acclaim; they’re currently promoting their sophomore follow-up, So This Is Goodbye. (“We can’t keep this closure idea for the title going forever,” Greenspan observes. “Otherwise we’re gonna have to call our third album I’m Dead”). Greenspan, a stocky guy with a red, bushy beard, …
By Jason Newman
Given their striking similarities, it seemed inevitable that roots rocker Ben Harper and reggae-dancehall artist Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley would eventually link. This summer, the duo crosses the country together for their first joint tour. “He was the only choice,” said Harper. “Otherwise, I probably would’ve done a solo tour.”
Despite sonic differences, the pairing of the two musicians is one of this summer’s most natural fits. Their combined catalogs read like a history of American and Jamaican roots music, with both artists blending and exploring various genres as they see fit. Lyrically, both musicians focus on socially conscious, uplifting lyrics dealing with struggle and empowerment.
With Harper’s admiration for Bob Marley’s catalog at near-obsessive level, (Harper routinely covers Marley songs live) it’s only fitting that he met the reggae legend’s son at a Bob Marley tribute concert in 2000. …