Concert Review | Black Star at the Kool Haus
13 years after the release of their iconic Blackstar album, Talib Kweli and Mos Def set out on an unexpected and long awaited tour that brought them to the Kool Haus in Toronto this Saturday with the aim of reviving the sound that made them huge in ‘98 and to drum up some support for their new projects. Although they waited until midnight to grace the stage, hometown DJ’s Wrispect and Faze kept the energy level as high as they could for three hours by mixing up some old-school jams while Sir Lancelot unsuccessfully tried to hype the crowd.
However once the red, green and white microphones were in place, the lights were dimmed and the stage was set for Talib Kweli and Mos Def to jump around wearing tweed outfits that would’ve been a better fit in a lecture hall than a concert hall. They opened the show with their new single ‘Fix Up’ to a chorus of polite applause. Clearly the crowd in attendance was more enthusiastic about hearing old hits than new ones, so the duo promptly flipped the script and set into a flurry of classics including ‘Astronomy’ and ’Definition’ which had the entire crowd head-bopping, even those who were only toddlers when it originally came out. By the time they got around to preforming Re:Definition, the crowd was so absorbed by the duo’s quarky stage presence that they didn’t even mind Mos Def’s impromptu addition of ‘Watch The Throne ruling hip hop’ into the closing bars.
After working their way through most of the Blackstar LP with some surprise additions, the audience began showing their age as they grow quieter towards the end of the night. Mos and Talib reached out to the crowd, asking how they were feeling, professing their respect for Gil-Scott Heron and even discussing the Pacquio decision (the only part of their performance which earned them ‘Boos’). They hit the ’restart’ button around 1:30 by preforming an energetic rendition of ‘Respiration’ that woke everyone up again. Blackstar’s performance came to an end as Mos Def slow danced to an unknown melody before dry-humping one of the speakers, bringing a memorable performance to an unforgettable (and slightly uncomfortable) finish.