Sufjan at the Okayplayer Holiday Jam
The night took on a lower-key tone when Sufjan Stevens performed, as he offered up a tender rendition of his song "Holland" while backed by Questlove and the Roots. Stevens, who made his own contribution to the seasonal canon with his 2006 five-EP box-set Songs for Christmas, then announced, "I'll do one more and it's got 'holly,' 'jolly' and 'Christmas' in it. It's a sing-along." He performed the sole seasonal staple of the night as he sang a genial version of "A Holly Jolly Christmas" while the Roots added a backing groove that included a chirpy keyboard riff.The above review is from the Okayplayer Holiday Jam that happened at Brooklyn Bowl last week (12/9) with The Roots, host Hannibal Buress, and surprise guests that ended up being Sufjan Stevens, Reggie Watts, Raekwon, Big Daddy Kane, Bilal and others. Okayplayer has uploaded a video recap with clips of those artists, plus another video solely of Reggie Watts. You can watch both of those below.
It was the closing rap section of the show that resonated most with the crowd. Black Thought was first up, strutting around in his signature flat-cap during his performance of "The Next Movement." He then brought out Big Daddy Kane and the two of them ran through Kane's golden-era hits "Just Rhyming With Biz," "Set It Off" and "Ain't No Half Steppin'," with Black Thought acting as both amped-up hype man and savvy impromptu rap impersonator as he took on Biz Markie's role in the first song. [Rolling Stone]
In related news, Questlove was recently named TIME Magazine's coolest person of 2013. (It's from the same year-end issue that named Pope Francis "Person of the Year.") TIME writes:
Questlove, the drummer of the alt-hip-hop band the Roots, dropped bits of coolness everywhere this year. He wrote two cool books, Mo' Meta Blues--a smart postmodern memoir--and a coffee-table book chronicling Soul Train, the show so cool that my dad, in a failed attempt to prevent me from growing up to be a dork, forced me to watch it as a child. He composed the music for Comedy Central's very cool Inside Amy Schumer. His website, Okayplayer, which allows alternative musicians to create songs together online, made the dopest Christmas sweater ever. Every Thursday night, he deejays at a bowling alley in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. And since the Roots are Jimmy Fallon's house band, he's about to become the bandleader on The Tonight Show. He also deejayed at 13 weddings this year, including that of 2013 Coolest Person runner-up Pharrell Williams. We picked Questlove over Williams because there's no song titled "Last Night a Recently Married Guy Saved My Life."Congrats Quest.