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De La Soul: MIF review

Lynda Moyo is shocked to discover that the Ritz really is where the party’s at

Written by . Published on July 17th 2009.

De La Soul: MIF review

Amongst a programme of opera, architecture, visual arts and local acts in glorious venues such as the Bridgewater Hall, Opera House and Lowry, De La Soul at the Ritz seemed a curious addition to Manchester International Festival (MIF). However, as a festival which prides itself on wide-ranging artists from different genres, the long reigning hip-hop trio are in fact the perfect addition. It’s actually the venue that’s more curious.

De La Soul are currently celebrating over 20 years' success in the music industry and with the help of a 10-piece band, the three New York natives were keen to make it every bit the party.

Normally home to pink cowgirl hen parties and chavs having a night out on the WKD, luckily this Grammy Award winning group transformed the Ritz for the night. Well almost.

De La Soul are currently celebrating over 20 years' success in the music industry and with the help of a 10-piece band, the three New York natives were keen to make it every bit the party. They had no qualms in going right back to when it all began: 1987.

Unusually for the group, the crowd wasn’t predominantly De La Soul followers, but more MIF followers, with a few hardcore hip-hop heads getting their freak on, on the front row. The balcony was lifeless.

However, a few tracks in and it became apparent to many that De La Soul have a more familiar back catalogue than first realised. ‘The Magic Number’, ‘Potholes in my Lawn’, ‘Oooh!’ and ‘Me, Myself and I’ were amongst the tracks which are cemented somewhere in most peoples’ memory banks, whether you’re into hip-hop or not.

The group also featured a stint of comedy involving a mock-cookery show whereby, in chef attire, they mixed up a recipe for a song; adding the beat, the bass and so on.

This then led into a DJ set from Maseo alongside fellow De La Soulians,Trugoy and Posdnuos, rapping “the old school way”: just a beat and a mic. By this point even the stiffs on the balcony couldn’t resist a little “heyyyy, hooooo, heyyyy, hoooo”, arms-a-waving, with De La Soul challenging “which side of the room is where the party’s at?” to egg-on the atmosphere. A few thrown pints aside, it fast became a night of hip-hop hooray.

It’s notable that a lot has changed in hip-hop culture since De La Soul started out. The group are renowned for speaking out and criticising the often violent and gang affiliated route the genre has taken over the years.

The De La Soul Is Dead album largely focuses on such topics and followers of their career were pleased to hear tracks such as ‘Saturdays’ and ‘Ring, ring, ring’. The latter, has a special place in my past, as the answering machine message recorded by me and my siblings at our house, featured the catchy chorus of: “Hey how ya doin'? Sorry ya can't get through. Why don't you leave your name and your number, and I'll get back to you.”

Summing up their feeling towards the changing face of hip-hop and the era they came from, Maseo said: “De La Soul will never break-up”. They also showed respect to their own heroes: “Run DMC would never have broken up either. This one’s for Jam Master Jay.” The group paid homage to the influential DJ who was shot dead in 2002.

De La Soul added spark to MIF this week and they also managed to transform not only a venue but also an initially reluctant crowd. Yes, your feet will always stick to the carpet in the Ritz, the toilet doors will never have working locks on them and there may always be a smell of damp, but what a difference the right act can make.

De La Soul are playing at the Ritz again tonight (Friday 18 July).

De La Soul @ the Ritz Manchester from Manchester Confidential on Vimeo.

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10 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

pass the nooseJuly 17th 2009.

If your going to review a show get the facts right please. The make up of the crowd was older (hardly surprising given that Three Feet High and Rising came out such a long time ago) but it was a small percentage who were corporate heads and yes THEY were lifeless. I was in the balcony myself and on my side everyone was dancing waving shouting and singing all the way through the gig. Jam Master Jay was a dj not a rapper. It's Trugoy (the dove) not Trugo and as for the crowd being reluctant at first, that was total rubbish too the sea of arms bouncing and swaying tells me you weren't really paying that much attention Lynda !! On a positive note you are right ,it was a great night, the venue was perfect for them and they even came through to the teepee later til it shut showing total fan friendliness and immaculate manners even when asked not to take drinks outside. De la Soul is not dead !

amir tigerJuly 17th 2009.

Wow, Pass The Noose, you must be the angriest person in the world! You're like Michael Douglas in falling down, and the review above is someone handing you a hamburger...

pass the nooseJuly 17th 2009.

Anonymous- if you have something to say then at least use a name and if i want to say something about mistakes in a review its my choice is that not the point of this function? You really must be a pedant's pedant it wasn't the punctuation or the factual errors that were the main point of my rant just the review seemed a little jaundiced to me ok ! It was a great gig that's not in dispute.Lynda i appreciate your gracious reply i understand entirely that two people can have opposing and valid views (east lancs) of the same thing but i felt compelled to put my alternative viewpoint across. Nothing personal just opinion, like i say it's the point of the feedback function.

AnonymousJuly 17th 2009.

Also PTN, Christ get over it. Why is it some people have to pick the sh*t out everything? (oh and whilst we're on that, it is "..if you're going to.." Not "..if your going to.."). It was a great gig, everyone is in agreement. Good.. Now calm down.

Lynda MoyoJuly 17th 2009.

I didn't spell your name wrong on purpose either. Must still be tired. Oh dear.

Anonymous Anonymous Anonymous AnonymousJuly 17th 2009.

pass the noose says..“ Anonymous- if you have something to say then at least use a name"Are you saying that Anonymous can't be a name? What difference does it make when, quite clearly, Pass the Noose isn't your name!Get over yourself!

east lancsJuly 17th 2009.

PTN, it is entirely possible for two people to form valid - yet opposing - opinions!

Welsh PhilJuly 17th 2009.

amir tiger I love you!

Lynda MoyoJuly 17th 2009.

Pass the nose: apologies about the couple of mistakes. Although no excuse, mistakes can be made when writing a review at 3am. It's certainly not down to a lack of knowledge, just tiredness. Glad you enjoyed the gig but I have to disagree about the balcony. Some people were really getting into it, but as De La Soul themselves kept commenting, many people remained a bit lifeless. Still a great gig though.

AnonymousJuly 17th 2009.

Friday night was rocking, the whole place was jumping, Damon Albarn was absolutely great - yeah the Ritz is not the classiest venue but it was spot on for the boys. Top gig.

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