I may be a young pup but I have seen some of the best contemporary music acts that the world has to offer: ACDC, Run DMC, Amon Tobin, Rodriguez, The Who and James Brown to name but a few. They were all amazing but I have to say De La Soul has to be in my top tenfavourite live acts. They were just that good.
To give you a scale of how popular this event was the festival marquee was extended just to house the entire crowd with the food section being moved outside. A DJ set the mood with a great variety of music from Billy Jean to Sabotage and an amazing mix of Kelly Watch the Stars, but when he announced that De La Soul were to be on soon the place just filled up, with the anticipation taking hold of the entire room.
It all went quiet when they entered. It was a weird mix of casual and grandeur. They are truly at home on the stage and you can see why they have been going since 1987 and are best known for their eclectic sampling, quirky lyrics, and their contributions to the evolution of their genre. When performing they made everyone feel welcome by talking to the crowd and getting everyone to participate. It’s hard to imagine that it has been 25 years since the release of 3 Feet High and Rising but the tunes they where pumping out still sound incredibly fresh and are just as unique as when they were first written.
Playing a healthy mix of music from throughout their long career, it’s easy to see why they have such a hard core following. De La Soul’s music is both a healthy mix of music you can jump in and out of and music you can lose yourself to. They stopped to get the crowd going so many times that you lost track of how many songs they played teasing us with changes to a rollerskating jam named Saturdays, claiming it was first Wednesday then Monday. Other highlights for me would be Potholes in My Lawn but of course everyone lost their S**T when they kicked into Me, Myself and I. As soon as the beat came on everyone started singing –
Mirror, mirror on the wall tell me,
mirror, what is wrong?
Can it be my De La clothes
Or is it just my de la song?
Throughout the festival all the marquee gigs I have been at had amazing light shows, this was the only one that didn’t and it did not need it. This show was all about 3 guys entertaining the audience with their music and witty banter, even stopping us photographers and making us join in, I got less pictures but damn it was worth it.
I have mentioned to people before that I cannot stand it when musicians and singers don’t participate with the audience, now I am not talking shyness, I am talking about being aloof and stuck up. De La Soul were none of these things; they were humble, happy to perform, fun, talented and entertaining, sure that may not come off as cool, but these guys have been going for nearly 3 decades and with generations of people loving their music, so tell me this, how is that not cool?
Being the generous guys that they are they did dedicate a few songs to people in the crowd, not only that but they did on February 14th for Valentines Day released their entire back catalogue for free.
So to sum it up, three guys who never left the top of their game and me doing a lot of this, what an awesome night. (Looking back at what Belfast was like 25 years ago who would have thought this was possible, a great show and a great thought to end a wonderful festival.)
1st – 11th May 2014 – Cathedral Quarter, Belfast