Last night, half Jewish half Canadian self-proclaimed “musical genius” Chilly Gonzales played the incredibly intimate Borderline on Tottenham Court Road in aid of HMV’s Next Big Thing.
Posters upon entering stated “Chilly Gonzales, the musical genius gracing the stage tonight, would appreciate it if all attendees could keep quiet throughout his performance”. I’d always heard Chilly was quite the prankster, so I took this with a pinch of salt and assumed he wouldn’t get all diva-esque on us…
By the time Chilly Gonzales had graced the stage in his usual performance attire (that would be a dressing gown incase you’re wondering), the crowd were ready for a slice of the electro piano funk brilliance that was released last year in the form of Ivory Tower (one of my personal top 5 albums of 2010). The majority of the show was a solo performance from Chilly, with a combination of tracks from the new record, a couple of old ones and some medley jams in-between.
Chilly gave a tongue in cheek step-by-step guide as to how he created the Apple advertising campaign favorite “Never Stop” – yet joked despite appearing on the technology giants advertisement campaign, how he has failed to blow up. This followed with Chilly getting an iPad out and actually performing the song on it there and then. How’s that for an endorsement? This wasn’t without a technical glitch which led to the poor sound man getting an onstage grilling from a frustrated Chilly who broke into “Take Me To Broadway” to kill some time.
The evening would not be complete without the ever charming Chilly telling anecdotes in-between songs. One tale told how fellow Janadian rapper Drake took “The Tourist” from “Solo Pianist” and proceeded to use it on a free mixtape which circulated the internet. Despite the entire song being used with nothing more than the sound of a champagne bottle being opened at the end of it, he never got any credit. He went on to say he actually met Drake due to his father living in the same block of apartments which led to him getting “musically raped again” when he ended up performing the track in person for Drake.
Prior to the encore (which was a song about Nazi’s with Chilly playing a pair of bongos) the show ended with Chilly getting some onstage support from a drummer and three young ladies on backing vocals for the performance of newly released single, “You Can Dance”, which cemented why Chilly was performing there in the first place. As the man himself put it:
“I’m a man of the times… living in the Barbara Streisand era”.
Chilly Gonzales will be performing at KOKO on May 5th.
Words: Neil Phillips