DJ Shadow (above, at a previous set) and Cut Chemist brought their consumate showmanship to the Ogden Theatre on Thursday. Photo from jonnybaker.blogs.com.
Cut Chemist and DJ Shadow took the stage at the Ogden Theatre on Thursday looking like two of the most unassuming guys in the world. Their sets have the intimate feel of a basement party where no one really notices there’s a DJ and everyone seems to be taking the music for granted. Then they blow your mind. What this pair can do onstage is like no other party I’ve been to, and I highly doubt anyone at the Ogden that night was taking it for granted.
People that don’t believe DJs are musical artists and that DJing is an art form only need to watch Cut Chemist and DJ Shadow for about 30 seconds to have their minds changed. But just in case watching isn’t enough to convince, the dynamic duo started its set with a short, extremely entertaining instructional video about why “just playing records” was in fact artistic and worthy of the $33 everyone had just paid to see them.
And how could you doubt the musical talent of someone who can successfully mash up the words from “Gilligan’s Island” and the music from “Stairway to Heaven?” Especially when that same someone also just threw in a transition to “Eye of the Tiger?” That was just the beginning.
These guys played anything and everything from De La Soul to the Beatles to Middle Eastern music, seemingly in some sort of chronological order. It was definitely divided into sections and before the start of each section the guys were nice enough to tell you exactly what they were going to give you. One time being a “couples only” theme that had all sorts of old R&B and soul music.
According to the video the show, “The Hard Sell,” was created entirely with original presses of 45 records. The pair also used two guitar pedals for loops and about eight turntables. Behind the two there was a large screen playing videos created for the show where the audience was occasionally given the opportunity to see the performance from the vantage points of various cameras positioned around the two DJs, one of those being on Cut’s wrist which provided an amazing view of how he gets things done onstage.
Even though these guys seemed unassuming they’re still terrific showmen. At one point they came out from behind the turntables and sat at some sort of table, appearing to play cards. And although I didn’t stay until the end, there were some rumors of portable turntables being played that makes me wish I had.
Even without catching that ending, this was still one of the most entertaining show I’ve seen in a while. Judging by the crowd’s response to Shadow and Cut, they thought so too. If you happened to miss the show and that makes you sad, buy the album because it’s pretty close to the live performance — you can just pretend you were there when the actual magic was made. I won’t tell.
For more of Reverb contributor Tiffany Child’s music writing, check out her blog Wayward Panties.