Photos: Bríd O’Donovan
Yo Yo! Check yo-self!
From Barrack Street to Blackrock the sun aint pounded,
instead my rags are fucking drownded,
the storm came and went, Justice were all action,
before we arrived at the Pav for Theesatisfaction.
(Top class Stevie P.! – Ed.)
The Jam nights have become a thing of legend over the past 10 years. Spawning from the ashes of Sir Henrys and then over to The Savoy, Stevie G’s extremely successul hip-hop night has become a staple for fans of the genre in the City and beyond. Over the 10 year period, hip-hop heavyweights from Kanye West to Grandmaster Flash and De La Soul have all graced the stage at the legendary club. Stevie G accompanied by his partner in crime Colm K celebrate their 10th anninversary in style tonight with the next generation of emerging hip hop artists, the Seattle based Theesatisfaction.
As well as being a 10th anniversary show for Jam, tonight is also doubling up as an after party for the Justice gig. The crowd itself is made up of long time regulars of Jam, the post gig Justice pack (well on it too) and a few chin strokers for good measure. Taking to the stage just before midnight, Stasia Irons and Catherine Harris-White are met with more than a warm welcome. Their styling alone seals the deal from the get go. Catherine is decked out like an extra from hit 80′s tv show Fame. The back combed afro looking better than ever in the flesh. Stasia settled for a Hawaiian style shirt with some three quarter length slacks. Although she looks like an extra from the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, I’ll take this over a moppy fringe, a scarf and a pair of cacky chinos any day. Good to see the fresh back in refreshing.
There is no backing band of any sort with Theesatisfaction’s live show. Although a little dissapointing at first, most if not all hip hop acts from the most establised all the way down to the DIY scene operate the same. Behind Catherine and Stasia, a Macbook sits on the desk, the backing tracks loaded up on Garageband. Opening with the percussion heavy ‘Bitch’, the afro wearing Catherine showcases her wonderful soulful range while Stasia’s harmonies prove how great their voices sound together. There is a real sense of rhythm both musically and vocally. Stasia delivers her lines line a percussion instrument, highlighting words and phrases, always on the off beat, never a straight dual.
‘Earthseed’ follows with its wiry cocktail piano loop soaked in flanger effects – “suprisingly, we’re probably on trial” sings Catherine, reflecting on what it’s like being a gay-black-female in a hip hop band in 2012. What is almost regarded as their signature tune, ‘Queens’, follows. The opening bass line causing somewhat of a surge towards the stage. “Turn off your swag, and check your vain, from your lengths to your tense, get down“, spits Stasia while the crowd accompany both Stasia and Catherine with the fantastic chorus refrain “Whatever you do, don’t funk with my groove“.
It was surprisng, but more than welcome, to hear ‘EEN SAH EWE’ from their Transitions mixtape in tonight’s set too. Its African roots vocal floating over a kraut-like groove giving way to what many have labelled as Afro-Futurism.
Over the course of the set some of the backing tracks are louder than others, proving difficult to hear the vocal, although their presence alone makes up for any sort of minimal flaws. Their synchronised dance moves go down a treat with the crowd too. At times some of the palest Cork men known to man mimic the moves in what can only be described as hilarious, garnering more than the occasional giggle between both Stasia and Catherine. Even between tracks the two girls seem to be in sync, the right hands raising up and down as their hips gyrate with more swag than Snoop’s right hand.
After two encores they pull away from the psychedlic kraut hop that has taken them this far. Instead opting for an old school style flow, the kick, snare and hats pattern has everyone on the dancefloor throwing shapes as both Stasia and Catherine prove they are just as good as their contemporaries while at the same time paying tribute to their influences.
Doing this stuff with a live band wouldn’t be an easy feat. Although somewhat dissapointed with the lack of, I walked away knowing that Theesatisfaction are two very talented individuals. Bringing a live drummer and percussionist into the mix might add to the live show a great deal but replicating the album with a full band would be next to impossible. Listening to what they’ve created on record it’s easy to see why Sub Pop snapped them up as quick as they could.
As both Stevie and Colm (Jam), as well as most real hip-hop fans, love to celebrate all that is ol skool, maybe now is the time to celebrate the nu skool, Theesatisfaction.