Published Jul 17, 2008For their first of three shows as part of Halifax's Atlantic Jazz Festival, hip-hop production duo the Extremities rocked two different sets of music at the Seahorse's weekly hip-hop night Lifted. Being a hometown show, keyboardist and MPC button smasher Fresh Kils and DJ Uncle Fester were joined by legendary Halifax saxophone player Chris Mitchell to rock a selection of instrumental songs from their debut, The New Tonic, a concept album that sees the Extremities remixing songs from Mitchell's jazz quartet super-group, Tonic.
The three performers started the night strong by introducing themselves with Fes cutting up their name over a funky, scratch-heavy track. The space in front of the stage was used for its proper purpose, as a dance floor, and before long many were grooving to the sounds, and would be for the rest of the night. The peak moment of their instrumental set was "Funk For Joy, an exciting and lively rendition of the Extremities remix of a song by now-deceased Tonic piano player Doug Riley, which was obviously drenched in dexterous piano plinking.
Following the short interlude, the Extremities returned to the stage with Mitchell and a few more hometown heroes, this time rap veteran Fiz and up-and-coming superstar Ghettosocks, for a vocal set that included tracks off the album along with a few new creations. The two MCs were a good match, with Fiz starting things off smooth with the assistance of vocalist Becky Saimon. It was also fun to watch his admirable attempt at filling in for Kaleb Simmonds on the soulful, crooning hook to "The Way I Feel. Ghettosocks kept things light and fun with "Liquor to Pandas and a bunch of written verses and freestyles over new Extremities productions.
Lifted host Ash Tactics became a little obnoxious and overbearing towards the end of the night, invading the performance by preening at the front of the stage and even jumping on stage with the artists, but even that could be forgiven when I noticed his fly was open. As someone outside of the scene it's possible I just don't understand the local customs, but Ash could learn a lesson from the Extremities who demonstrated how it is possible to be both awesome and humble at the same time.