1 October 2005

Two stories with the price of none.

I have witnessed two very moving incidents this week. A film and a concert. I start with the latter.

This Thursday I went to see Talib Kweli concert in Helsinki. He has been one of my favourite rappers since he came out. Music has been rather stylish and most of the times very conscious although he refuses to be political rapper. And I must admit the gig was good. He had good energy and the length was quite okay as well, him being on stage for over 1,5 hours which is decent for a one man with the back catalogue that he has. He performed songs I wanted to hear and only left me missing maybe only one or two that didn’t make it into the set. Sometimes he was screaming a bit too much. He has such a great voice, a very distinctive one indeed, and that I feel is one of his strengths. When he was rapping with his normal flow it was great because nobody does it quite like him, when he was loud it was energetic and got the crowd going but when he screamed it just sounded like he didn’t trust the microphone. There wasn’t all that much of screaming but it did happen few times. Nothing too serious really. Also the DJ of the show DJ Chaps did decent scratching mix and the singer whose name I unfortunately missed had a beautiful and very soulful voice.

Now the downsides of this gig. The venue could not have been worse. Not much anyway. It was Helsinki Club which used to be for young and obnoxious business people rocking their Boss suits and now it has been taken over by young bling bling hip hop kids. You know the white kids with their hair braided and who listen to G-Unit and sell-out stuff like that. It broke my heart to see Kweli there when there would have been whole different demographics in the show if it was at Tavastia or anywhere like that. Many rap fans skipped this one just because of the venue and although they missed a good show I cannot blame them.

So the crowd was young, they used every excuse to throw the Roc-A-Fella diamond hand signs in the air (honestly now.. what does Talib Kweli have to do with it?) and generally nobody seem to understand what took place on the stage and it was a pity indeed. Crowd also failed to know what a B-Boy and B-Girl which kind of created a awkward moment. Not only were the customers “wrong” but the setting of the club is not good for live gigs mostly because it is not simply designed for them. There was also constantly too much smoke on the stage. There were few times some minutes that I couldn’t see the performer from the distance of few meters just because the smoke was too thick.

A great concert and I am happy that I saw that but few small things could have made it so much better. It cuts me deep.

Another experience of the past week was a film called “Sophie Scholl”. A German film about the student resistance movement in the second world war. Sophie Scholl being a very brave 21 year old girl who participates in the distribution of anti-regime flyers, gets caught and goes trough the justice system which is not very balanced as you might guess. The film was based on the true story and although it was good as a film it was more moving as a story. I understand that there must have been some minor changes in the events in order for it to be a film that people generally want to see but I felt it was still a story for us all to see. Story that one would like to relate to but only in theory. How would you act if you could lose your life over your beliefs? That is obviously a big question which I am not trying to answer here. I just feel that it would be very healthy for all of us to face the question so that we could appreciate the people who are political prisoners, people who won't have free and fair trial and not only the ones that we see in the news but also the ones who we will never hear about.

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