Live Review from Funk Ska Nation:
2. My, Myself and Yu
5. In Debt
6. I Wanna Be Loved By You
If you yearn for the days of sultry, husky-voiced jazz lounge singers, standing by a piano whilst decked to the nines and crooning to a room of cigar smoke and hushed conversation, R.I.D.D.E.M can offer you one of those things. Trade cigar smoke and muffled chatter for bottles of Jack Daniels cola, beaming smiles, and dancing feet, and you have yourself a truly jubilant R.I.D.D.E.M gig.
Warming us up with some off-the-cuff improv, R.I.D.D.E.M introduced their intoxicating blend of bluesy, psychedelic hiphop. An energetic glitterbomb donning a tye-dye shirt, flavours of Lady Antebellum came to mind as Reggie’s vocal riffs bridged that ephemeral gap between lounge singer and RNB sensation.
This seems to be the vein the band tapped leading into Me, Myself, and Yu, loud synth guitars cutting playfully behind a soft but prevalent keyboard melody. With the curse of late night COVID-19 social distancing laws looming overhead, it is understandable that Reggie’s vocals were muffled or drowned out at times beneath the volume of the band itself. However, that never stopped her from putting her all into each performance, dancing the night away with the audience.
Careening into Spice-Verb, the jazz and blues touches were discernible above all others, highlighting all the technical strengths of the bassist in particular who stood out beautifully in contrast to his bandmates.
Earwig of the night, I still have Rihanna on repeat in my head. An all-out RNB masterclass, Reggie’s vocals simply soared here as the standout performance of the evening. Her honey-smooth vocals are so enchanting that you almost miss the provocative lyrics being sung- “When you f*** me, do you think of Rihanna?” is countered cleverly by a clapback of “Next time we’re f******, I’ll be thinking of Rihanna.” Suffice to say, the entire room was singing along by the second chorus, the song’s nostalgic arrangement of the song harkening back to times where the worst of our concerns were slow Motorola Razr flip phones and a boyfriends who refused to look away when Disturbia came up on MTV.
The group rounded off the night with In Debt and I Wanna Be Loved By You, ensuring that the last evening of live music in 2020 went off with pitch-perfect melodies and a room full of dancing (socially distant!) bodies. A pure amalgamation of the quiet sophistication of blues, the relentless danceability of funk, and the bubblegum badass feminine power of the early 00s, R.I.D.D.E.M is one to watch- next year, the year after, and perhaps even last year.
– Jasmine Gould-Wilson