PLANET GIZA LIVE AT THEATRE FAIRMOUNT BY MADDY P
By Maddy P
In conversation with Amber De Luca-Tao for Tone Deaf, Montreal trio Planet Giza stated that their 10-year plan was to become “a household name in the music game.” After turning Theatre Fairmount into the zestiest venue in Montreal this past Friday, it is clear that this group is well on their way.
Emerging from Artbeat Montreal (IYKYK), Planet Giza —Tony Stone, DoomX, and Rami B— firmly root their sound in the beat scene and hip hop. From here they branch out, taking inspiration from a number of different genres that give the trio a unique sound. It’s this unique sound that has landed Planet Giza opportunities to play at events such as Montreal Jazz Fest and a headline show in London (England, not Ontario). With such an impressive curriculum vitae, I was shocked to learn that it was their first official headline show in Montreal.
Upon entering the Mile End venue I was greeted with a phenomenal set from Montreal legend Dr. MaD, whose assorted hip-hop mix was getting the crowd hype a full hour before the main act was scheduled to start. I grabbed my quintessential show beer, found a seat, and surveyed the smokey blue room. I’d only started listening to Planet Giza about a week prior – having only been familiar with them by reputation through the grapevine. I thoroughly enjoyed their most recent album Ready When You Are and I decided to do a little digging into the group, which is how I found out about the concert. Going into the show I had no idea what to expect, but the quality of Dr. MaD’s mixes and the energy I could already feel emanating from the steadily growing crowd I was confident that I would be in for a treat.
I was right. This was the most fun I’ve had at a show in a long time.
Opening the set with the newest album’s namesake (and interestingly also the opening track) “READY WHEN YOU ARE”, the trio plus special guests JMF, Frank O’Sullivan, Jean Samy Pierre immediately got the party going. From my own deep dives into Planet Giza’s discography, I had a general sense of the musicality I would be greeted with. Planet Giza is, to put it simply, a smooth listen. Rami B’s and DoomX’s background in production has obviously only become more refined over time, their beats (at least to me and my friend Helen who came to the concert with me) evoke a kind of Timbaland flair. What made the group stand out initially in the scene was getting their friend Tony Stone to perform over these beats. Its clear how integral each member of the trio is to the creation process, and while I’d grown accustomed listening to this dynamic recorded, it was significantly enhanced as Planet Giza took the stage.
I’ve never seen a group have more fun on stage than Planet Giza. Tony Stone oozed charisma as he performed, seamlessly blending performance, crowd work, and anecdote-to-song transitions. Some may find it difficult to keep an audience engaged and enthusiastic over the course of 90 minutes, but not Stone. He was constantly encouraging people to dance: “let me see those dance moves,” he yelled, “and do NOT embarrass me.” Numerous call-and-responses were initiated, and Stone got the crowd to follow his directions with an almost cultish compliance. During a groovy R&B moment, Stone got the crowd snapping along to the beat, joking that the show was “like a poetry club now.” Later in the night during what Stone labelled the ‘rap segment’ he would rap one of his songs (to my delight “SHIPS N LUV” was included here) and more than once would direct the audience to give him “a thumbs up for the fire ass raps”, and give a thumbs up they did. And when Planet Giza brought out Lan’do for a performance of my personal favourite song on the new album “DO DAT DERE”, everyone went wild.
Every second of the Planet Giza set was a party. Even the people in the back of the crowd were bopping their heads. I could write a full length review about each individual on that stage, but I think a special shoutout is deserved by Jean Samy who was killing it on drums. He was creating pockets that everyone was riding with, adding extra groove to what I had previously thought could not get groovier. Everyone on stage was smiling and dancing a little bit as they killed track after track. From the Ready When You Are album showcase section to the rap section to the OG song section, there wasn’t a still body in the house. Stone, near the halfway point of the set, asked the audience not-so-humbly if they “really came out to see lil ol’ us?” While the answer was a resounding yes, if Planet Giza keeps on turning out performances like this, it wont be ‘lil ol’ them’ anymore. This group is on the way to becoming on of the all time greats.
Planet Giza’s newest album Ready When You Are is currently out on all streaming platforms, and they are playing a DJ set at Piknic Électronik Montreal June 25th.