Grandmaster Flash – Jazz Cafe Monday 22nd April

When I heard Grandmaster Flash was doing a DJ set in London I couldn’t resist buying tickets. They were bought as a present but I counted myself in on taking up the second one!

I hedged my bets that he would come on around 9:30 and play for 80-90 mins, I was bang on, we left the building at 11:50. The crowd were a cool mix of hip mid 20s to mid 40s and the vibe was incredible, a room full of consumate music fans.

The Grandmaster made his entrance, turned his cap around and started preaching to us about how he was going to ‘fit a square peg in a round hole’. By this, he meant mixing tunes like The Bee Gees’s ‘How Deep is Your Love’ with ‘The Message’ and various other mash ups that really worked well. He is a cool man and treated us to about 60 seconds of the best part of each song, which he claims finding those parts is ‘Hip Hop’.

He gave us Roots Manuva, The Beatles, Stevie Wonder, Annie Lennox, Aerosmith and all of his own back catalogue with some good old fashioned scratching in to boot. I thought he might do everything manually, on vinyl but a trusty Macbook Pro was used to control his playlist. There’s nothing wrong with that, using technology to make like easier and better is great. I’ve found from DJing myself if you pre-cue a playlist you can spend all week thinking about it and mixing things up to suit the mood is easier than if you are working with hardware only.

It was all holler and hands up, his energy is great. He told us we were all suffering with ‘too cool-itis’ and to make some noise, it worked. Playing to a packed out house where everyone knows and loves everything you spin is such a buzz, Grandmaster Flash raised the game even more by engaging us, by designing his playlist to a London audience and by just being very, very cool himself. He finished with ‘White Lines’ and hung around to sign records off the stage and chat, no attitude, just love for the people and the music.