ABS & FASE opening for JURASSIC 5 with DJ FORMAT, Killa Kella and Bag of Trix at the Kool Haus (1 Jarvis). Sunday (April 20). $29.50. 416-760-3332. www.ramosent.com Rating: NNNNN
When hiphop duo Abs & Fase bumped into mad Brit vinyl junkie Matt Ford, aka DJ Format, hunched over the bins in a local record joint, they couldn't know the casual encounter would drastically alter their career path.
Soon after the food-conscious Abdominal dropped some nutritional science on scratchmaster Format's Ill Culinary Behaviour (PIAS) single, things quickly started clicking.
Our man Abs was asked to rip a few more rhymes and came up with The Hit Song and Vicious Battle Raps for Format's groove-jammed Music For The Mature B-Boy (Genuine/PIAS) full-length disc. Suddenly, Abs was the album's key focus and rocking packed houses on European tour dates split with Jurassic 5.
So impressed were J5's Chali 2na, Akil and Cut Chemist with the Canuck upstart that they invited Abs to freestyle at the rammed UK farewell gig in Brixton. Although the audience of 5,000 was about 4,800 more faces than he's used to performing for, Abs passed the audition with style.
"The guys in J5 had brought me up to freestyle during their set a couple of times before on the tour," explains Abs from his Montreal home, "so I thought I was ready for the Brixton Academy. Looking at all those people, though, I could feel my stomach turning.
"But when I did my stuff, everybody went nuts. The response was amazing. It was impossible to get to sleep on the bus afterwards. I was buzzing for the next 14 hours straight."
After the gig, Format's PIAS label reps began discussions to release Abs & Fase's Flowtation Device with three bonus tracks in Europe and Japan. Abs recently flew out to shoot a video for Format's new single, The Hit Song, and now Abs & Fase are opening dates on the North American leg of Jurassic 5's current tour, which hits the Kool Haus Sunday.
In the past few months travelling around with Format, Jurassic 5 and their catering bus, Abs has had his first real taste of the hiphop good life. The next time he passes through the world's great cities, though, he hopes to see more than their seedy record shops.
"Format is a great guy but maybe not the best person to travel with. He has some really strange dietary habits -- he won't touch anything that has even a minute amount of spicing. I mean not even a dash of pepper. We'd be in Paris -- the culinary capital of the world -- and we'd spend four hours searching for a ham and cheese sandwich.
"He's all about bland food and non-stop record shopping. Sightseeing? Hell, no. I'd say, 'Hey, let's check out the Eiffel Tower,' and he'd be out the door with directions to some French record dealer's basement."