Wax Tailor strikes the right notes at the MeetFactory

7. 2. 2012 Autor: Rubrika: English žádné komentáře

Just as you begin to think you’ve seen it all in Prague, something will jump out of nowhere and knock you off your feet, making you realize that you’ve only scratched the surface of this diverse city. At least that’s how I felt after my recent visit to the MeetFactory to see French DJ Wax Tailor live in concert.

To those of you who are new to Prague and maybe unfamiliar, the MeetFactory describes itself as a ‘centre of arts’, and is located in Smíchov, Praha 5. Translated, it is best described all-in-one hub for contemporary art, where one can catch exhibitions of fine art, photography, theatre, dance, live music concerts. On December 6th, they were hosting Wax Tailor, a French DJ who has made a name for himself internationally by using instrumental samples to create his own unique brand of hip hop, often incorporating elements of jazz and at its most powerful resembling the trip hop music of bands such as Portishead or DJ Shadow. Maybe to the traditionalists, all this just sounds like a whirlwind of ambivalence, but for anyone familiar with the trend of experimental hip hip that has emerged over the last decade, this was surely a must see.

So on a Tuesday evening I diverted from my routine of a few mid-week beers at some well known watering-hole, and took the tram to Smíchovské nadraží for something that promised to be little bit different. And it certainly didn’t disappoint!

As a live concert venue at least, the meet factory avails itself to the contemporary Prague of the 21st century. The concert hall itself is both spacious and glittered with a few curiously surreal features, such as upside-down theatre seats on the ceiling, the spinning disco balls on the walls or the red florescent bar. So far a quirky club maybe, but the exhibition hall opposite is a stark reminder that this is more than just a bar or a club, or even an ordinary gallery for that matter. I’m yet to experience anywhere else where you can saunter round an art exhibition, soaking up the pictures and videos with a drink in one hand, roll of exotic tobacco in the other, just killing time before a gig. The exhibition itself was on journalist photography, and to be honest was far less impressive than the novelty of the situation. But it marked the perfect setting for a night of experimental live music.

Although a DJ himself, Wax Tailor’s live shows no mere DJ set. As with all his shows, on Tuesday he was accompanied by an artillery of instruments, including a cellist, a flutist, a guitarist and a trombonist, all serving to bring a fresh new sound to the samples that Wax Tailor so deftly crafts into his tracks. There was also a female vocalist, the brilliant Charlotte Savory, who features on a number of his tracks, and whose voice was a perfect compliment to the eery trip hop sound of many of his tracks, and an MC, whose energy and engagement with the crowd were pivotal for the hip hop elements of the set. And with all this, rather than being drowned out by his band, Wax Tailor himself still managed to dominate the night. In fact, the ensemble of instruments and vocalists allowed him the freedom to demonstrate his considerable mixing and scratching skills. His band were often respondent to cues given by Tailor, almost as an orchestra responds to the direction of a conductor, leaving the audience in no doubt who they were here to see. All in all, just about every element of Wax Tailor’s hip hop/trip hop/jazz combo was enhanced by the presence of his band, making for a near flawless performance.

And so, leaving the MeetFactory for the slums of Hostivař, I felt that I had really experienced the best of the city. Not necessarily because of Wax Tailor himself, who of course is French. But it hit home how lucky we are to be here in Prague, which is a magnet for the weird and wonderful of the international arts scene, and is often the perfect setting to enjoy it.


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