Wednesday, 7 September 2011
Public Enemy: Live at the O2 ABC (Glasgow)
Flava took off his jacket, revealing a lucozade orange t-shirt. After the requisite call back and forth with the crowd he asked us his name.
'And my name is Flava?'
Pulling out a clock from under the t-shirt, the group launched into 'Welcome to the Terrordome', the famous 'wall of sound effect' continuing for a frenetic 2 hours of Fear of a Black Planet, their 1990 third studio album. Included in the setlist were some classic tracks from It Takes A Nation of Millions To Hold Us Back, such as 'Don't Believe the Hype' and 'Terminator X to the Edge of Panic'. This gave Terminator X replacement DJ Lord the chance to showcase his skills, driving the crowd into a frenzy with his complex disc spinning.
Chuck D also did his fair share of crowd interaction, revealing his disdain for Rupert Murdoch and doing his best to inflame cross-border relations: 'Scotland is NOT the same as the U.K. There's a difference!' It got the weegies onside, at any rate. It made a refreshing change from the usual tired back and forth:
'Does Glasgow have the REAL Hip Hop?' Well, clearly not.
For 'Don't Believe the Hype', we were introduced to Annie from Aberdeen, plucked from the audience so Chuck could ask her the all important question:
Chuck: 'Annie from Aberdeen, are we really that tight?'
Annie: 'Don't believe the hype'.
Less charming was Rita from Dundee, doing her utmost to inflame every single stereotype the nation has about the city. Flava did his best, even giving her a ride on his shoulders.
The set flowed seamlessly between the instruments of the band (Flava memorably treating us to his own drumming skills halfway through the performance) and the turntables of DJ Lord. This was used particularly effectively on 'Black is Back!', an AC/DC / Public Enemy mash-up.
Despite the promise of Fear of a Black Planet being performed in its entirety, there was still an opportunity for the crowd to hear newer music. 'Say it Like it Really Is' was made to celebrate Chuck's 50th birthday (That's right, 50th!), proving that the old timer still has some stuff left in the locker.
There was only one song that could be used to close out the performance. Just as 'Fight the Power' closes out FOABP, it was predictably used to end the show. Chuck's goodbye was refreshingly open: 'We didn't come here to show you no bling! Download, bootleg, I don't care. Just get our music any way you can!' I might take you up on that, Chuck. Flava took a rambling approach to his farewell. Fresh from running randomly through the delighted fans, he delivered an incoherent speech about hating racism or seperatism or something. It didn't really matter. After 2 hours of fantastic high energy performance, the crowd left on a high.