K-OS at the Danforth Music Hall, Friday (April 5). Rating: NNN
Every few songs, K-os took a performance pause and cooed, "All I care about is music and the city that I'm from," with a shit-disturbing grin. It's an adjustment to a tackier Drake line ("All I care about is money and the city that I'm from"), and K-os backed up his claim with an hour and a half of hard work.
The performer - who in years passed has been known for questionable levels of onstage sobriety - was not only well in command of his faculties, but exuberant. And he needed to be. Despite best efforts by Halifax showman Rich Aucoin, the crowd was lukewarm when the headliner (very punctually) emerged. Getting a room from mezzo piano to fortissimo is a tricky task, but K-os accomplished it with an energetic showcase of his 11-year catalogue, charming freestyle dance moves, a quirky ensemble (purple silk shirt, massive gold cuff, Hawaiian lei, Nike Frees that gave way to bare feet) and a kind of break-dancing hype man who joined him from time to time.
All the stage presence in the world, however, couldn't overcome some sound issues. Despite releasing a double album this year of hip-hop and rock, K-os is primarily known as a rapper. Thus, it would be nice to hear his raps. It was a fuzzy, lacklustre sound system, not lazy delivery, that made this impossible, but still.
Undeterred, K-os engaged the audience often, threw out plenty of Toronto and Canada references ("Fuck Stephen Harper!"), and more than occasionally dazzled vocally, especially on his 2007 hit Sunday Morning. By the time he got to favourites Man I Used To Be, I Wish I Knew Natalie Portman and Crabbuckit, the concert-goers' spirit was almost as high as the concert-giver's.
There was by no means chaos in the crowd, but there were certainly chants of it, over and over, by the end.