last night attended the concert of Sizzla Kalonji and the Firehouse Crew, here in Prenzlaurberg at the Kesselhaus. incredible. flawless. effortless. ferocious and delicate. on the whole, the show was not as aggressive as i thought it would be - considering some of the murda tunes Sizzla has been crafting lately (such as his terrifying version on Shaolin Temple Riddim). but when it's Sizzla, an artist who can, depending on his mood, with ease and swiftness, make tears shed or make the streets run red (with the blood of liars and traitors, presumably), i guess i did not know what to expect (either would be utterly amazing). last night's show was a little of both, but on the whole leaning more toward tradition than i expected -- just this sweet aching soul fire which transcends time; a timeless celebration of roots culture.
there were many moments when the roof nearly collapsed from the pressure, as Sizzla just lets it FUCKING RIP, in his coarse and brutal, throaty Old-Testament voice, spitting blue flames as the band pounded away -- BOOM! -- but the set was also filled with beautiful sing-jay numbers, weaving gorgeous melodies with his words, invention and surprise at every bar. the delivery was modern, the style unmistakably unique, but also immediately recognizable as a descent, a part of something much larger. this man has refined his art to such a rare level that it is an absolute inspiration to witness him in the zone, unstoppable.
i can not go on like this and not leave you with a likkle taste of Sizzla, now, in 2007. it's been a minute since Black Woman and Child, to say the least. here is a 30 minute excerpt from Volume 4 of the Judgement Yard Mixtape series, entitled Dangerous Dancehall. as is sometimes the case, what mixtapes lack in production finesse more than makes up for in raw spontaneity, and if we talking about Sizzla maxing at the home studio in a cloud of ganja smoke, just jamming with some homeys, the results are simply jaw dropping. if anyone listens to this half hour recording and does not feel a thing - might want to check your pulse.
NOTE: i did not notice the homophobic line or 2 in the download. i certainly do not endorse such hatred; it is a regretable aspect of dancehall culture... and Sizzla is a big-O hypocrite, when he does a song like "Don't Judge Me" (not on this mix), and then proceed to judge others in extremely harsh ways. what happened to "do unto others"? it's too bad that the fiery conviction which drives the incredible power in this music also begets biggotry. apologies if anyone was offended.