Call me Russ L

The Streets! The Mitchell Brothers! Kano! Dropkick Murphys! More live music to digest!

Posted in Music by Russ L on 7 January, 2006

Originally posted on 7/3/5.

Back to work Thursday, back to gig-going Thursday night for The Streets’ ‘Ten Rounds’ tour. I made my way to The Square Peg and was shortly joined by Comrade Prattovski. We repaired – by foot – to The Briar Rose, before making our advance on the National Indoor Arena (it’s where they used to hold ‘Gladiators,’ don’tchaknow).

Entry was gained, drinks purchased and seats found. Kano was already on stage by this point but I don’t think we missed too much of his set. Grime-come-garage-come-hip-hop type stuff, starting off with a really messy sound that stripped a bit of the impact away. As it cleared up he began to sound better, with a few tunes that I definitely think might be worth hearing again. They crowd, unsurprisingly, responded most to the song he did using the “Don’t Mug Yourself” riddim.

The Mitchell Brothers (I’ll forgo Grant ‘n’ Phil jokes, since they’ve probably attended to everything ever written about this duo, and will probably continue to) also use a Streets beat, giving us their own version of ‘Blinded By The Lights.’ For the most part, though, this pair are hilarious – check them cussing each other, or the guaranteed-to-crack-you-up background videos (close up of the face of one of them getting more and more pissed as the other makes ‘wanker’ signs behind him, or the one where they fought each other ‘Streetfighter’ style). Good tunes, as well – hip hop with bits of other urban styles here and there, and I’m gonna have to get me a copy of their single (‘Routine Check’) out this week.

The MC battle was next. We were in stitches. The winner Professor Green was hilarious and lightning fast, and I think the lesson to be learned is that we all need to compare our enemies to Dodi Fayed more often.

The Streets, then… I do think Mike Skinner is one of the best and most important artists of recent times, I really do. He’s both unique and really good, so what more can you ask for? A good live show, I suppose. Check.

He does have a lot of charisma for someone who’s act revolves so heavily around being the ordinary everyman, but then again I suppose that’s all part of his thing – normal but likeable. Several days removed I can’t begin to remember even the loosest idea of the order of the set, but I think what surprised me the most was that it didn’t follow the story of “A Grand Don’t Come For Free” (I was expecting it to, with a few “Original Pirate Material” tracks thrown in here and there at appropriate moments). ‘Fit But You Know It’ was excellent and energy filled; “Dry Your Eyes” was, as ever, absolutely lovely; a surprise (well, perhaps surprising) highlight came from “It’s Too Late,” which was helped by a really poignant backing video (the lad who’s been dumped sits down on a park bench next to an old wino/tramp and rolls a spliff; as he passes it to him you notice they have exactly the same look in their eyes). Contrast that with the clip he kept playing to show us how we needed to party (a bunch of young geezers – I think it may have been Goldy Lookin’ Chain – dancing all spaccafied to a beat) and you’ve got The Streets in a nutshell – drama to silliness in the blink of an eye. Why is that good? Because that’s also life in a nutshell.

Friday saw the Dropkick Murphys playing at The Academy. They were supported by The Bouncing Souls and The God Awfuls, but due to working till 8 I missed them both.

I saw the Murphys more or less exactly one year earlier in the venue’s smaller annex, and they were absolutely fantastic. I saw them a few years before that at a festival, and due to piss-poor sound they were terrible. So, this time… somewhere between the two. Their boisterous, shout-along spirit doesn’t really seem to work quite as well over longer distances, unfortunately; while their songs are obviously still great, they don’t have quite the same impact.

I always wonder if I’m giving the wrong impression whenever I say anything like that, because the Murphys (interestingly, the chant was “Let’s go Murphys!” this time. I’m sure it was “Let’s go Dropkicks!” both previous times and on their live album) were still good. Damning with faint praise can be an unjust thing, especially when you can’t think of anything else to say…

We got the usual ‘get loads of girls onstage for the perverts’ spot, we got a lad from the crowd getting up onstage to do ‘Barroom Heroes’ (and give him his credit, he did an alright job), and the usual absolutely storming versions of “Which Side Are You On?” and “Skinhead On The MBTA.” No “Wild Rover,” though…

– Russ L



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