REVIEW: Grandmaster Flash @ The Approach [30/3/14]


The word ‘legend’ is sometimes bandied about all too frequently. But for a man who is arguably one of the most significant names in the history of hip-hop and the pioneer of several DJing techniques still used today, that word is almost an understatement for someone like Grandmaster Flash.

And the Godfather of hip-hop demonstrated just why he’s placed on such an esteemed pedestal as he performed a master class in vinyl mixing at The Approach.

While some DJs are content with arriving at the venue, standing behind the decks and going through the motions, Flash not only played a set filled with timeless classics but also delivered a lesson on hip-hop history with spoken forays into the genre.

In the first of his sermons, he declared that he was going to play a diverse set, with a selection of genres from reggae to disco being featured alongside the expected large helping of hip-hop.

And true to his word, the likes of UB40’s reggae hit Red Red Wine and Tracy Chapman’s seminal Fast Car were merged with some of the most iconic hip-hop tracks of all time, including Flash’s very own The Message.

With Monday morning looming, a subdued crowd might have been expected, but this was far from the case as virtually every track spun by Flash was greeted with rapturous cheers.

There was even a positive response to Robin Thicke’s ubiquitous and overplayed Blurred Lines, which is a testament to the man’s technical mixing ability as well as an indication of the crowd’s enjoyment levels.

In an age where the hip-hop genre is heavily associated with guns, drugs and degrading women, it was refreshing, as well as inspiring, to see a true legend remind everyone that the roots of the genre are far from what is portrayed in modern society.

Robin Murray

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