Lady Sovreign, Ghislain Poirier | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Lady Sovreign, Ghislain Poirier 

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UK grime queen and self-described "white midget" Lady Sovereign was already a stateside cult phenom before her first domestic release, the cheekily titled Vertically Challenged EP (Chocolate Industries). Short white female rappers are a rarity even in the bizarro world of grime, where dancehall rhythms are married to 80s video-game sound effects and DJs contort beats every which way but boom-bap, but Miss Sov's flow belies her stature. Her breathless debut performance on 2003's "The Battle" (alongside male rappers Shystie, Frost P, and Zus Rock) grabbed the attention of UK DJs and music papers; she followed it up with her first solo joint, "Little Bit of Shhh!," and devastatingly funky, witty singles like "Random" and "Cha Ching" (also included on the breakout grime comp Run the Road). Her full-length on Island/Def Jam isn't due until spring '06, but the new EP rounds up most of her singles, along with remixes by Ad Rock and Ghislain Poirier. --J. Niimi

It's no wonder DJ and producer Ghislain Poirier named his monthly dance night in Montreal Bounce le Gros ("The Big Bounce")--he's yet to make a track that doesn't feature molten, thudding bass so sub it seems to be originating from the earth's mantle. His latest, Breakupdown (Chocolate Industries), has some similarities to the music of his sometime collaborator DJ/Rupture: sproingy, percolating rhythms, North African esoterica, and the skittering minimalism of classic British IDM are layered atop a pounding ragga-gone-Timbaland beat bed. His collaborations and remixes tend to be uniformly fierce and furious; he knows how to prop up whoever has the microphone, be it a dancehall MC like Lotek Hi-Fi or Wayne Lonesome or a grime stunna like his tourmate Lady Sovereign. It's music that resonates with both the crate diggers and the club headz. --Jessica Hopper

Lady Sovereign headlines, Ghislain Poirier opens, and Johnny Love and Chris Widman DJ throughout the night. Tue 12/6, 9:30 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $13 in advance, $15 at the door.

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