Caught Lady Sovereign (aka the S-O-V) Friday night at the Echo in Los Angeles. It was my first time seeing her after bumping her debut, Public Warning, for a few years.
The Echo has a downstairs venue called the Echoplex, and on this night, Fucked Up and the Underground Railroad to Candyland were playing. I missed TURTC, but saw a few friends, so all wasn't lost.
Upstairs, the S-OV's DJ, Francis, was playing some hip-hop dance tunes that I really dug. Part of what I really like about Lady Sovereign is the production on her record. She can flow, but the music would be awesome to hear as instrumentals. I know it's my job to know these things, but I have no idea what songs Francis was playing or even where to begin as far as describing them. I chalk that up to the fact that I'm getting old and lame and they are from England, where blokes are coming up with all sorts of things that I know nothing about.
After 30 minutes of Francis, the DJ put on a track that announced the arrival of Lady Sovereign. And on cue, out she came, all 5'1'' of her. She was rocking a panda beanie that prompted her to announce herself as "Travel Panda."
The show was billed as the S-O-V's attempt at playing a bunch of new songs, so all those in the very timid crowd who were disappointed should have stayed home. I thought the new songs were great, although, I didn't mind when she busted out "Public Warning," "Love Me or Hate Me" and "Random." As far as the new shit goes, she played two new songs I've heard -- "So Human" and "I Got You Dancing" -- and both were killer.
Lady Sovereign's new tunes sound like they are going a tad bit more in a stripped down, dance club way with less emceeing and more repetitive hooks. Or maybe that's just what happens when you go to a show and hear a bunch of songs you've never heard before. Either way, I dug them.
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The S-O-V was in good spirits. Between songs she told the crowd how bloated she was due to feminine issues, smelled herself and commented how she reeked like bananas and onions and how she wouldn't take off her hat because she had hat-head.
The only negative thing I could say about her show is the same thing I could say about every hip-hop show: too much reliance of back-up tracks that are louder than the actual vocals. This was a low-key show and I assumed beforehand that Lady Sovereign wouldn't bring her full band. I was right. I hope the sound issues iron themselves out with backing musicians because the songs sounded great, but it was strange to not hear the MC when it was obvious she was saying something.
Check out my friend's Flickr page for some pics. She told me some girls wanted to fight her over these, so do her a favor and take a gander. www.flickr.com/photos/shantycheryl.