Review: Chiddy Bang live at The Troubadour

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Last Wednesday I was fortunate enough to catch most of Chiddy Bang's show at The Troubadour in Southern California. Click more to read my review of it. This was my second time seeing Chiddy Bang live, a hip-hop duo consisting of producer Xaphoon Jones and MC Chiddy. However last Wednesday marked the first show Chiddy Bang would be doing with a full band accompanying them. I was a bit skeptical of CB's decision to do this but understand a change might have been necessary as some of the show reviews of CB haven't been too favorable and their record label wants to make sure Chiddy Bang is performing in the most favorable conditions. Compared to last time seeing Chiddy Bang perform as just a duo in Spring 2010 to seeing them with a full band last Wednesday, I believe the band did enhance certain songs like the latest CB single, "Ray Charles", while bringing down the value of other songs like my all-time favorite "All Things Go". The production of Xaphoon Jones was not highlighted during many parts of the set as the other instruments added (guitar, drums and keyboard) sometimes overwhelmed the incredible production Xaphoon Jones has created. Specifically songs that sample indie hits like "All Things Go" (which samples Sufjan Stevens), "Opposite of Adults" (samples MGMT) and "Truth" (samples Passion Pit) were hindered by the full band as the production went unnoticed. To add to insult, MC Chiddy's rapping was overwhelmed by the rest of the production or he would sing/rap over the sampled hooks which have been mine and many other fans favorite parts of those songs. With recent hits like "Ray Charles", "Baby Roulette" and "Whatever You Want", off Chiddy Bang's debut album, Breakfast (iTunes), the production value of the full band enhanced the song, most notably with the last track they played, "Ray Charles". With these newer songs, I feel the record label and CB did a good job identifying the need for a full-band. A recommendation I would make is going back to Xaphoon doing drums like he did when CB performed as a duo; now Xaphoon does keyboard and helps hype up the crowd. If Xaphoon can do both a little of drumming and keyboarding duties much like indie/alternative acts Bag Raiders and The Knocks do live, maybe the value of the performance will be enhanced. Those music duos I mentioned actually both doing some drumming, DJing and keyboarding and if Xaphoon can do a little bit of those three plus keeping the drummer they currently have, this would greatly enhance the performance value and take Chiddy Bang's performance to festival headliner heights. Overall I would give the grade of this performance a B- as my older favorites from Chiddy Bang were not performed as well as when I saw CB almost two years ago but newer favorites, espeically "Ray Charles" were made better with a full-band. I would recommend CB having the full band sit out the older CB songs, having a drumming duo (with Xaphoon Jones jumping back on some drumming and doing some keyboarding), then Chiddy Bang's shows going forward would have a more larger appeal, keeping the fans of their older indie-sampled material happy while continuing to entice their fair-weather fans who have jumped on the CB bandwagon based on their Breakfast album debut.

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