Wednesday, 20 February 2008

*Dizzee Rascal @ Academy 1, Manchester (Live)

You've gotta hand it to Dizzee Rascal. It's not like the UK can boast many MCs who've managed to a) cross over to the states b) put out consistently well received albums and collaborate with indie stars without confusing anyone oh and c) consistently pack out rooms, but he has done all of the above.

With recent collaborations with the Arctic Monkeys, Dizzee Rascal has drifted slowly into the indie scene and has been accepted more than ever before. This perhaps helps to explain the extreme diversity of the crowd packed in to the room to see him play tonight.. you had the hip-hop heads, the indie boys, the overly made up girls. Everyone was out to play. Even that one random girl who is clearly on pills and keeps mindlessly twirling and bumping in to everyone.

DJ Semtex warmed up for him and I must admit, while my hip-hop days have kind of faded in to the background of my musical taste, Semtex was amazing. Not because of any particularly unique DJ-ing skill but more the selection he chose, if it was a great hip-hop song in the last 20 years it's likely that Semtex spun it.

Dizzee Rascal came out to rapturous cheering and craziness, the crowd was most definitely live and ready to lose it, even if only for the big songs. He had the usual hype man with him (never sure what they're for? They just shout every other word in to a mic) but he did not distract from Dizzee's infectious songs. I've seen him once before and was slightly disappointed as it felt like he shouted everything but this time was much better, words were articulated, beats were crazy. Everything you need in a hip-hop show. Predictably there were certain songs that received extra noise, Sirens, I Luv U, Old Skool, Jus' a Rascal and classic Dizzee tune, Fix Up, Look Sharp. It's clear that some of his material is a lot stronger than others, and there were lulls in the craziness but he paced his set perfectly and near the end dropped the new-ish song 'Temptation' with The Arctic Monkeys (collaboration.. they weren't there. It's ok. Calm down.) All night the bass was the kind that resonates inside your chest, makes you thankful for your youth or your heart would probably be having a fit. So Dizzee impressed his varied audience and from the sound of the cheers the audience impressed him.


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