Wednesday 11 March 2009

Choose your Weapon wisely…

How does one fulfil that need to appeal both to musical purists AND the hipster art types? Are these two spheres mutually exclusive? Club nights is club nights
innum? Chin-strokers need not apply when it comes to the much maligned business of the wobble wub wub surely? Well Cheba over at Weapon of Choice towers has been riding this figurative dichotomy for 14 months now. And with the help of regulars Nikill and Betamax not so much rode it out, as bare backed that beast all the way to the VD clinic. Consistently rambunctious, WOC has now become a staple for those who like their ink scribble accompanied by bass heavy boom bap and soulful skank outs. But part of you feels that maybe this synergy works to the detriment of its component parts.

For the artisan amongst the crowd, Dylan
Shipley and Rory Doona were pon pen, and it was a joy to watch the anime-meets-traditional-eastern-lure-in-the-coat-of-Jamie Hewlett graff unfold – Dylan's bold stylised figures creating a strong contrast to Rory’s intricate, detailed musings. The culmination of a Little Shop of Horrors-esque female ninja segued with beautiful dystopian imagery was a great success and holds up to any past pairing that WOC have put before, and I’ve no doubt that the canvas will be subject to much scrutiny once it hits the Weapon of Choice gallery.

Musical accompaniment began with an audacious and equally accomplished turn by young emcee Misha B, with an assist from another mere whipper snapper Jagos. Misha delivered an honest and insightful collection of tracks, barely stopping for breath from one song to another and did her very best to draw the crowds eyes from the squiggling behind her. Next came the Project 13 family (sans an immobile Eva Lazarus) aka Chalk MC, Mista Switch and A-Kid on the mic with Le Mart on the one’s and two’s. High energy syllable splatterings were exchanged between the three orators, with tales of cider swilling merriment and world woes combining in a great “we don’t take ourselves to seriously” mantra that had the heads nodding and arms aloft once technical issues were ironed out.

Next up, the
Vertabrae sound system rolled out the low-end heavy, bashment and frankly anything else-influenced goodness. Ben One’s MPC wizardry was complimented by the pacey flares of DJ Rogue as Bristol luminary Awkward drizzled his enigmatic and discerning rhymes over the top like some hip hop jus and again, it had the crowds interest perked as the trio jostled for space amongst the writers and equipment. However, it also typified the polarity WOC sometimes throws up – when complex art is showcased along with complex rhyme wrapped in the cacophony of ebbing bass and stonking percussion, you find yourself strangely entranced as pen caresses canvas, and you could tell the crowd were suffering from this ailment as Awkward, as well as the other live acts of the night, jostled for the attentions of the massed crowd and several of the folk’s attention meandered between the music and the painting during the course of the evening.

This was further highlighted by Middleman and
Sparkerboi’s guest appearance, as a high energy dubstep-tinted cameo that really should have torn the roof off was met with late applause as the crowd caught up, again losing themselves in the intricacies of Rory and Dylan’s work. It wasn’t until the down right dope juggles and beat matching of Cheeba that the crowd finally started to loosen up, bust a swift shuffle and get the shoulders moving, and you couldn’t help but feel a little sorry for the folk who had gone before as they really didn’t get the attention they deserved. As Sickman D slammed on heavy dub after wobblecentric two step goodness, brilliantly assisted by Central Spillz’ founder C-Strike-Z, later to be supported by Spydogen, you finally felt the harmony between beats and brush strokes and the night shimmied nicely into the early hours.

Maybe it was me. Maybe it is the credit crunch myopia blunting the lay persons enjoyment. Maybe it was that as the booze flowed so did the gratification. The night was no doubt a success, and once the various live acts had finished doing their thing the appreciation was there. But the jostle between arts was evident as the peoples attention was dragged one way and then another as we were bombarded by brilliance. Maybe we just
aren’t used to it. But hey, Cheba and the boys are still riding that beast, and long may it continue!

Words - Lemmie Sobon