Saturday, August 3, 2013

The Decline Of k-os

k-os' debut record, Exit (2002) was full of promise. I even went around praising his all-around talent for the music's production as rivaling Beck, and his lyrics and flow as ''eventually in the same league as Outkast''.

His second output, Joyful Rebellion (2004) still showcased his talents, but had a decidedly more old school vibe, relying less on k-os' knack for melody and creating music from various inspirational sources and leaned more towards classic hip hop.

But then it turned to insipid pop and un-researched music pretty fast, starting with 2006's Atlantis: Hymns For Disco and perpetuated with the sample-heavy Yes (2009) and this year's uneven BLack On BLonde.

And apparently, it's transpired to his live shows as well, as per The Gazette:
k-os, 1:30 p.m., Mountain Stage

And the award for Osheaga drama queen goes to… k-os.
The Toronto rapper is well past his prime. And his new album Black on Blonde – despite guest appearances by Emily Haines, Black Thought, Shad, Saukrates, and Sam Roberts – is a bit of a mess. So when he took the stage 20 minutes late, as the day’s first show on the mountain stage, there was reason to worry. He began to rhyme over an amped up Public Enemy sample, but stopped after a few minutes. “I can’t do this right now – I can’t hear myself,” he said. He threw his all access VIP bracelet into the crowd,and walked off the stage. Very rock ‘n’ roll, man, but it’s not going to win you any new fans. And next time, maybe skip the Blue Jays cap.

For a guy who performs in Montréal four times a year, perhaps he should have done his research a tad. When playing his own shows at Club Soda or Théâtre Corona, where his own fans - by definition a forgiving following - show up, sure, you can use your Canadianism as a factor for common ground, as much as ''supporting the local underground''.

But at a festival show, with a broad audience representing pretty much everything your usual crowd isn't - there's a difference between playing to a thousand folks who know your shit and 35,000 who've never heard it before - perhaps it'd be nice to take an hour out of your bubble and read about where you're playing.

Most of us will never cheer for the Blue Jays as ''Canada's Team'' for the simple fact that we had the Montréal Expos - Canada's first major league baseball team - and the way they were taken from us left such a sour taste in our mouths we were turned off by the sport altogether. So... Jays? No. NO. NO. I'm pretty sure it wouldn't work in Vancouver so much either, with the Seattle Mariners basically playing in their back yard.

Also, though they don't go to your usual shows, 50% of the population wanted out of Canada altogether at any cost twice in the recent past - and would have won had it not been for shady politicking and backdoor money dealings the last time around, to say nothing of those who think it would be a good idea on paper but weren't convinced by the arguments brought forth as the focal points the last time. So even if the Jays had been Canada's team, it's like wanting Puerto Rico to cheer for the Washington Nationals.

And what's up with not trying to work out the issue with the sound guy? Any band who's played in a bar will tell you that 3 times out of 4 it can be worked out if you're clear on what you want. The other time you'll wish you had walked out - which he did - but he should have tried to fix things first. By showing little patience with the staff at the very first show of the very first day of Osheaga - kinks are bound to occur - he instead showed great disrespect to the thousands who had paid fifteen times the price of entry as the first edition 5 years ago so it could attract artists ''of his caliber''.

And that attitude of ''artist vs staff'' usually escalates throughout the day as one side becomes more defensive and the other reacts accordingly, which ultimately led to headliners The Cure having the plug pulled on them in the middle of their mega-hit Boys Don't Cry at 11:05 PM, instead of being given the chance to finish the song before it happened so that the crowd could at the very least go home with the illusion that it went down well.

Instead, here is the evening's score card:
k-os: 0
The Cure: 0
Osheaga: 0
the public: 0

And instead of it being a 4-way tie, it's a 4-way loss. With k-os proving to be the biggest loser.

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