February, 2012

Feb 12

Roots Manuva live at the Roundhouse


Standard Saturday night on the Northern line. A boozy bloke sat opposite me strikes up a conversation: “Do they ever have sniffer dogs at Chalk Farm station?”. He has a gnarley set of teeth, scraggy long hair tucked into his cap and a poorly concealed tinny on the go.

I tell him I’ve never seen dogs there and change the subject to Roots Manuva, who I’m on my way to see at the Roundhouse. “Yeah mate, I’m heading there too, s’posed to be on stage with them in fifteen”, he slurs. “Sure you are” I think to myself. We get to the stop and part ways. It’s snowing and I drop into the Enterprise for a cheeky pint and a jager for some pre-gig cockle warming.

Once in the upmarket surroundings of the Roundhouse I start to question its suitability for hosting the UK’s most revered grimey hip hop act. However when Rodney Smith bursts onto stage sporting a bowler hat, bow tie, cape and cane, I realise this is a different breed of hip hop artist. He is accompanied by a full band of synths, drums, bass, DJ and backup MCs, including… a man with scraggy long hair tucked into a cap. Trampy man is in fact Big Daddy Kope, one of Rodney’s latest collaborators.

Roots’ latest album ‘4everevolution’ is an absolute banger, bursting with genre defying tunes that are so phat they would give Rik Waller a very slow run for his money. The show kicks off with some of the album’s highlights, gradually warming up the frostbitten crowd, before slipping into a mix of all the old winners. And by the time we get to the inevitable inclusion of Witness, the audience is in full party mode and the venue is transformed.

Thoroughly boozed up and danced out, the contents of the Roundhouse spills out into a snowy Camden Town for the obligatory snowball fight.

Roots Manuva are a surprisingly excellent live act with some very tight musical performances from the band. I highly recommend catching them at one of their shows, or at the very least go and buy their latest record immediately. You won’t regret it.

Photobucket Words: Dickon Drury

Feb 12

Tribes open new night at Purple Turtle

Fresh from a whirlwind tour of the US, Camden treasures Tribes came back to their roots on Monday evening to headline a spankin’ new night at the freshly refurbished Purple Turtle in Mornington Crescent, just ahead of their nationwide NME tour.

The night itself marked the launch of ‘Tins on Toast’, a collaboration between Abolish Confusion & Club Bandangos, featuring DJ’s such as Steve Harris from XFM. Support came in the form of NME and Q favourites Dexters, who recently headlined Club NME at London’s KOKO with rave reviews.

There is quite obviously a lot of love for the Camden four-piece, as the place was packed out with fans both old and new. A huge roar came up from the bulging crowd as three of the lads came on stage to play a short acoustic set comprising of songs from their debut album, ‘Baby’. The band opened with Coming of Age which, even with the absence of drums, sounded as great as ever. The sing-alongs continued from the audience as they powered through favourites including Sappho, Corner of an English Field and Nightdriver, ending on the ever popular We Were Children.

Only time will tell for the Tins on Toast team whether this new venture will take off, but it certainly goes to show that bringing in big names like Tribes will draw a welcome crowd. I for one hope that each week can better the last, because it’s the most fun I’ve had on a Monday night in a long time!

Photobucket Words: Ceri Dixon