DJ Shadow : Boston Roxy


Abstract turntablism isn’t a totally empty art. When California’s premier sample-slayer, Josh ‘DJ Shadow’ Davis‘ hummingbird hand sends his fader chasing after the GoBot-fart bass of ‘WalkieTalkie’ or when he hooks up ‘Right Thing/GDMFSOB’ with Badly Drawn Boy‘s UNKLE collaboration, ‘Nursery Rhyme’, sending the two to grind through a deliciously dirty bit of electro, the room nods collectively.

Too bad the rest of the time people are just nodding off. Watching Shadow fiddle with his turntables and mixers is mostly like watching a cooking program – a whole lot of process without any real pudding.

The ‘soulful’ side of Shadow does get some members of the cargo-panted, baseball-capped audience swaying, but the ambience he injects into the lonely last-bus beats of ‘Midnight in A Perfect World’ is aimless. The tediously-prolonged lament ‘Six Days’ that follows swells up self-importantly before falling ass-backward over Moby into the chillout room. At times like these, Davis‘ transmissions just don’t get through.

Let his records show that Shadow can dig deep, but let him know that for a live show, he’s going to have to dig even deeper.

Ben Wolford