QBert & Reeps One (photo by Matt Jelonek)
MXING LIKE A BOSS QBERT & REEPS ONE Rosemount Hotel Thursday, February 16, 2012 Technically he’s one of the best DJs in the world - fact. When it comes to scratching, cutting and the like, QBert has few equals. The turntablist (an art form he practically invented) was the winner of the DMC World Mixing Championships three times (along with Mixmaster Mike) before politely being asked to retire to give someone else a chance. Since then, he’s started his own Qbert Skratch University and been one of only two DJs to have been knighted by the Grand Masters of the Hip Hop culture . So the challenge for the diminutive ‘Jimi Hendrix of the turntables’ (real name Richard Quitevis) is to put on an entertaining show that both showcases his immense talent and rocks the joint without reducing it to a technical masterclass solely for a group of bearded trainspotters motionlessly examining his every flick of the fader and turn of the platter (this scribe being one of them!). That’s what the sizable crowd was crammed into The Rosemount to see and they weren’t disappointed. The trick was roping in UK beat-boxer Reeps One as part of a double bill of the hip hop arts, he was the UK champion two years running and complemented QBert perfectly, giving the audience something to be thoroughly entertained by. After defyre had managed to coax the majority of the audience from the vibrant beer garden with a varied selection including classic hip hop by A Tribe Called Quest and Gangstarr and some notable turntable skills himself, the two stars in their field took to the stage and promptly blew away proceedings with
a series of skits and sets - sometimes tag teaming but always complementing each other and managing to get people moving their asses as well as nodding their heads. Traditionally these sort of nights are packed full of old school hip hop breaks that have been heard countless times before, but not tonight, the duo have taken things forward incorporating a whole manner of future beats into proceedings. One set involved Reeps One creating a pitch perfect dubstep backing track complete with customary wobbles and snare crashes whilst QBert scratched the hell out of the place. Another had them switching roles - this time QBert double beating and cutting two tracks to create a brand new syncopated rhythm whilst Reeps One produced all the other accompaniments raps, scratches and more. Other highlights were when the two gave solo performances such as when Reeps One broke down a track into four breaks and then systematically built them together and increased the speed to produce a monster of a result, and when QBert launched into one of his traditional routines scratching one of his favourite samples, with a mesmerising collection of orbits, transformer and crab scratches all completed with impeccable timing. The night was a success. Yes, the main man was constantly enveloped in a stream of blue light of smart phones recording his every movement but the combination of both Reeps One and QBert produced an entertaining show that really got the crowd cheering and grooving and it wasn’t even the weekend yet!
» ANDREW NELSON