Shad’s triumphant homecoming

Laurier alum Shadrach Kabango, better known as Shad, played his first show at Laurier since 2006 to a crowd of 285 students in a capacity-reached Wilf’s on Friday.

The 2005 BBA graduate along with fellow alum DJ T-Lo, sat down with The Cord before the show.

Shad explained that this show, the night before an appearance at the Canadian Music Fest in Toronto, was spur of the moment. “It was fairly short notice, I think only about a month in advance,” he said, expressing some uncertainty about the crowd and stage in Wilf’s.

“I don’t know what it’s going to be like, it’ll be a little tight, the stage is only elevated about that much,” he gestured with his hands as he leaned back on a couch.

“I like small shows but when it’s too small it might be a little bit weird. But this is the kind of vibe I like.”

While a student at Laurier, Shad won 91.5FM The Beat’s “Rhythm of the Future” contest and used the proceeds to finance his first album, 2005’s When This is Over. He has been playing shows and touring with DJ T-Lo since his early shows at Laurier and his subsequent albums, The Old Prince and TSOL.

“We were here four years ago,” Shad said. “Nothing I’ve seen has been too crazy different, the staples of my life are more or less intact.”

He noted that an apartment building had been built in place of his former house on King St. and fondly remembered his experience with Waterloo’s student housing.

“My apartment in fourth year, my room was on a slant so I would be typing at my computer and my chair would move and I’d have to pull myself back,” he said.

The show that brought him back to Laurier was promoted almost exclusively online using Facebook. Shad explained concert promotion on the campus before social media.

“I remember one time K-OS played and there was like 30 people there,” he said. “There was no advertising about it because of our primitive Internet in 2003, just a chalkboard outside that said ‘K-OS tonight’. That’s all we had. Morse code and hieroglyphs.”

Shad, who will complete his MA in liberal studies at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver this year, said he plans to work on new material once he’s finished touring Canada and the U.S. on the final leg of the tour this spring.

“I’ll probably record when that tour is done,” he said. “This will be my last term so I’ll be done pretty soon, assuming I don’t fail.”

“No big plans afterward really, probably just work on some new music, that’s about it.” Asked about the Wilf’s setlist, he quipped, “I’ll do a mix of stuff, almost all covers.”

He continued, “I really want my cover set to take off, it’s so much easier than writing new songs.” “A lot of Boyz II Men,” T-Lo chimed in.

Coming onstage after 11p.m. following London’s Two Crown King, Shad, backed by DJ T-Lo and Ian Koiter on bass, blazed through a quick set featuring tracks from all three of his albums and “I Get Down,” the song that won him the prize money for his entrance into the music business.

Shad even ventured in to the crowd on a few occasions. Afterwards, the ever-approachable Shad stood and talked to audience members long after the lights came up.

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