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Shad @ The Rockhouse review

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A rapper of Shad’s caliber is hard to come by in the rap scene as a whole, so imagine my delight when I heard he was playing
the Rockhouse January 28th, here in sunny St. John’s, NL.

Born in Kenya and raised in London, Ontario, Shad’s got three albums, a Juno,and an international tour under his belt, as well as a way of talking about serious issues and life lessons with a spirit that uplifts his audience and still sounds catchy as all hell. The show was completely sold out ages in advance, so obviously it was full house, wall to wall, floor to ceiling.




Hear/Say opened up the night, and despite their youth and “college-days” subject matter, I’ve got to admit they were spectacular. They had confidence, talent, energy, and more importantly, there was this undeniable and awesome power of just being some friends having a good time. I could feel the humor and the connection between the band members.

Antics were alright. They have this aggressive Beastie Boys kind of style, which was okay, but their beats and rhymes were pretty basic. At one point they rapped over the beat of Portishead’s “Roads”, and I don’t mean sampled, I mean they just rapped over the beat.

Between songs they were telling the audience to dance and get hyped.

Newfoundland natives Large, Live N Direct were next. I can’t say enough about these dudes. They have the coolest flows, great group chemistry, they used live musicians as their backing tracks, and their stage presence and attitude is sublime. Plus, when the dude with the beard (vocalist Andrew Lahey – Ed.) sang, I was looking around the room, like “Where’s Usher?”

These dudes are seriously talented, and they have so much gratitude and respect for the audience. Plus, they brought Timbits and Classified tickets. That’s how you make friends in the office, people. Delicious, sugary bribes aside, these dudes know how to RAP.

Finally, Shad took the stage. The audience freaked out as soon as he got up there. He introduced DJ-TLO, who had skills that could only be described as super-human. His hands were a blur of precisely honed muscle memory, ripping the tables to shreds. Shad himself rapped with an energy that, again, I must describe as uplifting. His style was powerful, but totally positive. I believe at one time he said “Kids should go to school for possession.”

He played guitar on the track Rock To It, a level of participation which makes him stand out from prima-donna rappers worldwide.  “Yaa I Get It” was a strong track with tremendous crowd response. Same on “I Don’t Like To”, which the DJ brought out a different beat for in the second half of the song.

Probably the highlight of the night was when he dropped into the crowd to be mauled by the totally psyched crowd. It was incredible and personal and I’m sure a move that earned him fans for life. It’s like, Shad wants the audience to be excited and enjoy themselves, but I didn’t get the feeling it was just so he could get famous and make money. He legitimately wants his audience to be happy, healthy people, and in the meantime he’s going to entertain the crap out of them. His heart is in the right place, and that combined with dedicated skill is what makes Shad stand tall.

11/10 Shad, thanks for coming out.

check out our interview with SHAD here!


By: Orion Batten
Photos by Jai Me



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