2015.12.04 :: Grandmaster Flash w/ DJ Amazonica & DJ Big Teddy Ted :: Brooklyn Bowl London

Posted on Monday December 7th in

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2015.12.04 :: Grandmaster Flash w/ DJ Amazonica & DJ Big Teddy Ted :: Brooklyn Bowl London

Words by Matt Stocks
Photos by Trudi Knight

Imagine living in New York City in the 1970s. Just imagine it! In that city, in that decade, the seeds for the three main pillars of twentieth century pop culture were being sown. It was the certified birthplace of hip-hop, disco and punk: three musical movements that revolutionized the world, forever.

The city was also home to many of said movements’ pioneers, including the Godfather of hip-hop himself, the legendary DJ known as Grandmaster Flash. And where better for the South Bronx heavyweight disc jockey champion to bring his unique brand of hip-hop entertainment, than the world famous Brooklyn Bowl: his home away from home, and as we soon found out, the perfect venue to party on a Friday night – particularly if it’s Flash on the decks.

It’s always important to arrive early for a show, because the support acts of today are the headliners of tomorrow. That being said, you can sometimes rue the day you showed up so early if the venue lacks character and the support acts lack talent. It’s the risk you run. Unless you’re at the Brooklyn Bowl, that is.
Even if your ears aren’t accustomed to whoever precedes the band or act you’ve come to see – and tonight our ears are very much in tune with the pre-party party tunes provided by DJs Big Teddy Ted and Amazonica – there’s plenty of pleasantries on offer to pass the time.

From ten-pin bowling (yes, it’s not just a clever name, the Brooklyn Bowl does exactly what it says on the tin) to cocktails, craft beers and good old-fashioned American-style grub (we personally recommend the Rock ‘N’ Roll fries, just don’t try and eat a whole portion on your own), there’s something for everyone here, unless of course you’re someone who hates having fun. That’s not you is it? No? Good!

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By the time Flash takes to stage around 10pm, the support DJs have done a good job of luring enough people onto the dance floor that the party is already well under way, the frozen margaritas are flowing, and the good time vibes are in full effect. The icon introduces himself – not that he needs to, such is his legacy – by pledging to take us on a journey through “rock ‘n’ roll, soul, punk, funk, disco, hip-hop, R&B and beyond,” and over the next two hours he delivers on every level.

From Diana Ross to Dr. Dre, Bob Marley to the Bee Gees, Prince, UB40, Wild Cherry, Will Smith and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, plus more tunes than you can shake a drumstick at (chicken, wooden or otherwise), Flash leaves no musical stone unturned, proving once and for all why some four decades after he first laid down the foundations of modern day rap music as we know it, he’s still the master of all genres.

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He doesn’t even need an MC or hype man; such is his skill at prompting everyone to have excellent time. Indeed, “Stay with me” / “Keep it moving” / “Throw your hands in the air” and “You’re looking good out there” are all the phrases he requires to keep the party moving, whilst his unparalleled skills on the turntables drive the night towards a glorious climax that obviously HAD to include the song that first put him on the map way back in 1982: “The Message”.

That now infamous tune was in fact the first hip-hop song ever to display a lyrical social commentary, and without it we would’ve arguably never heard the likes of Public Enemy, NWA or Rage Against The Machine, not to mention countless other socially and politically aware rap artists. It’s perhaps the greatest hip-hop song of all-time, and to witness its creator still kicking ass and taking names 23 years later is nothing short of inspirational. We’re not worthy!

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