Thursday, July 07, 2005

Digable Planets in D.C. – Never missed a beat

Originally uploaded by devalina.
Being in a band is the same as being in a relationship. You make compromises and learn to communicate in ways as to not bruise egos. (Booty calls are optional)

I don’t know why Digable Planets ever broke up, but a part of me (a fan since I was 11) felt like a kid who wanted “mommy and daddy to get back together.” A part of you knows that things won’t ever be the same as they used to be….. if it is, it would be a miracle.

Like, you know that friend you haven’t talked to in years? But whenever you meet there is no awkwardness and you start just where you left off. That pretty much describes the vibe from the Digable Planets show last night at 9:30 in D.C.

Whenever a band announces their reunion, fans look forward to seeing them, but at the same time brace for them to fall flat on their face. DP had the comfort and expertise on stage of a group that has been touring for years, but with the energy of a group that is new to the scene (best of both worlds). They seemed real happy to be on stage like friends who are catching up after years of ---- living, and doing other shit.

Crazy One and I were prepared for a venue full of “poser fans” who only came to listen to “Cool like dat”, but were pleasantly surprised to find the place full of people just like us….. people who ten years ago got instantaneously addicted to their funky bass lines and jazz vibes but were too young to see them in concert (or even get into a PG-13 movie). Personally, I haven’t heard anything like them since (don’t say the Fugees or the Roots). Everyone was singing along to all the songs and I think the band saw that as an ultimate compliment.

The sexier than ever Ladybug

I, like most DP fans, have gone through many changes since DP broke up (I got over my obsession with becoming an astronaut). But just because their fans “grew up”, it doesn’t mean they had to. Still revolutionary in spirit, still with mountain-air vocal crispness and clarity, Digable Planets still believe there is some insect conspiracy theory. Personally, I am glad they didn’t go the Prince/Debbie Gibson route and change their bug names to prove to people that they “grew up.” Its nostalgia to me, and I want to remember them like there were. During “what cool breezes do”, when they started singing mantra-like…

“Do what you feel, do what you feel,
do what you feel yeah do what you feel,
do what you feel, do what you feel,
if its real.”

I felt more emotional as the message got drilled into my head deeper with each repetition. I thought of the talented kid in middle school who wanted to be a comic book artist yet sold out for money and is chained to a desk now at some finance department making money for someone else instead of doing what he felt. Anyways, I digress…,.

People are always complaining how hip-hop is so negative, and how it teaches kids to respect violence and racism over women, money and materialism over friends. For negative hip-hop to be combated, positive hip-hop must supported… and although a part of me doesn’t want to share DP with the masses, I hope they get the love they deserve when they tour and release their third album next year. Today in the New York Times there was a story about rappers gaining “credibility” from their crimes. This type of marketing is teaching kids that you have to have a prison record to be a true hip-hop star, and a drug addiction to be a true rock star.

Doodlebug (I shook his hand!) and Butterfly

When will artists get credibility from their education? Did you know that Butterfly went to the prestigious Howard University? I definitely didn’t hear that from the media…. But I did hear that Lil' Kim was sentenced yesterday and that Cassidy turned himself into police… maybe to promote “I’m a Hustla” (I can hear the record executives discussing this in a boardroom…. “How are you gonna promote your next album without a proper prison record? Go out there and kill someone before I tear up your contract!”)

Besides standing next to “Enthusiastic Dancing Guy” and “Needs a Hotel Room Couple”, the show was truly one to remember.


At 11:47 PM, Blogger Fly said...

i'm very jealous

At 11:54 PM, Anonymous John! said...

Dev, how come you went to the DC show instead of Philly? I saw them at World Cafe and it was fricking fantastic...?uestlove DJed in between sets and sat in on drums with them for a big 20 minute jam of an encore. I'm really happy they're recording again and I totally dug the solo cuts Ladybug did...but I ramble. IM me sometime and we can discuss our respective shows...:)

At 11:38 AM, Blogger Space Cadet said...

What?! I didn't even know they came to Philly. Now I feel like a chump (not really). Actually, I was wondering when they were gonna come here because one of them is a Philly native. You know I STILL haven't been to the World Cafe? Was the Philly show a full house? I didn't think a lot of people were gonna come to the D.C. show because it was in the middle of the week and Digable Planets didn't take the stage till close to 11 p.m. but it was pretty packed. That's pretty impressive for a band that hasn't had any new material in over a decade.

I guess I have to start reading the City Paper and Philly Weekly again :-)

How did you find out about the Philly show? Was it well publicized? I am so out of the loop :-(


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