Marketed as the penultimate-ever venue gig between the two artists, a throng of a few hundred Scroobius Pip and Dan le Sac fans packed the Rescue Rooms, Nottingham to see their heroes bring the house down. And they certainly matched expectations! Dan and Scroob have always been a mysterious, yet perfect pairing, a strong compliment of rap and dance music shoved together, the scientific results captured on record and their long, long touring dates of the past 7 months. The recently-finished tour, across the UK (twice!) and mainland Europe saw the duo support third LP ‘Repent, Replenish, Repeat’, to the maximum, bringing the likes of rapper Itch and soulful female singer Sarah Williams White along with them.
This Nottingham leg of the tour was awesome though, from beginning, getting my merch signed by Scroobius Pip and a photo with the legend himself, to the end, having a picture with the second half of the duo Mr Le Sac, to complete a great evening. Oh yeah, and there was a bunch of musical in-between!
Aforementioned support act Sarah Williams White, kicked off musical proceedings, with an interesting sound. It was just her on the stage, armed with a keyboard and other electronic goodies. What proceeded to play out was some talented, if not totally realised work. Williams White was very impressive vocally, her haunting vocals are both dominant and fragile, they have a colloquial vibe too, her English tone very noticeable at times. The live looping of her own sounds and vocals was brilliant too, she was very busy at her perch! But the songs themselves were drowned by the levels of bass, that were certainly not perfect as of course the set-up was for the main act coming up. It was a shame, as her work was interesting and different, yet was not perfected in a live arena. I’ll be keeping an eye on her for sure, as it was an intriguing performance, for sure.
By the time, the invincible duo rolled out to play, the crowd was more than ready for them. That anticipation was turned into pure delight when favourite ‘Stunner’ rang out from the stage, the dramatic backing beat kicking in after Pip’s cracking intro. It was the first time I’d seen the two play, having followed and bought their records for a number of years, so to see it all finally come together, Dan’s ability on the decks far surpassing my expectations and Pip hitting them with his masterful technique, was amazing. Stunner at first sounds a bit too much, but the more you listen to Pip and his lyrics, it just fits together, the experimental beats and all.
The second of a 1-2 punch came along with ‘The Beat That My Heart Skipped’, heading back to the opener of the debut release, which again begins with a dominant Pip lecture, before le Sac kicks in with another driving beat. It was an intriguingly similar start, but shows you the variety and craft that goes into these tunes. By this point, the Rescue Rooms was shaking to its foundations as throngs of the audience bounced as one and sung Pip’s words straight back at him.
‘Sick Tonight’ and ‘Look For The Woman’, again showed the versatility on offer, the latter’s pop-like vibes and the song that really introduced me to them, hitting the right spot at the right time. Just over the quarter-mark saw Williams White return to the stage as the female vocal for ‘Cauliflower’, with the back and forth between herself and Pip entertaining. The two’s chemistry was obvious, and even if Williams White wasn’t the song’s original vocalist, she certainly made the song her own. When she left, you could almost sense the crowd willing her to come back, such was her magnetic stage presence.
One of my least favourite songs from the new record, ‘Nightbus Sleepers’ remained just that, but the following couple, ‘Terminal’ and ‘Angles’ were haunting songs, yet another reminder of the rowdiness the two can cause but also the reflective, tragic tracks. One comes from the first album, the other from the third, but the wordsmith that is Pip has remained talented, the stories he tells are captivating, you’re hanging on, waiting for his next utterance. It was a nice comedown to relax and reflect on important issues that may well have impacted upon the two’s lives.
The banter between Pip and Le Sac was another highlight, the two discussing many un-printable subjects including the state of the latter’s hat…but it confirmed the two’s stage show has been perfected, but managed in such a way that each individual show is a unique event. See ‘Stiff Upper Lip’ off the latest record, usually reliant on rapper Itch’s input, he was absent from Nottingham, so, almost as a personal challenge, Pip took it upon himself to crowdsurf his way to the bar area, down a shot of sambuca and make it back to the stage by the time Itch’s verse had ceased. It was brilliant, you really couldn’t see him doing that across the hundreds of dates they’ve performed at over the past few months!
‘Porter’ is a prime example of a slow-burner, building and building throughout, but without really climaxing, it’s a skill, but yet again we were impressed with the change of pace offered. From ‘Porter’ to an almost guilty pleasure, ‘Gold Teeth’, featuring Flux Pavillion, but ably held together by Dan Le Sac’s magic talents. It’s a pop-rap hit, mentioning Jimmy Saville and the refrain ‘rappers wear bling cos they wanna look pretty’, before the breakdown. It got the crowd popping embarrassing moves and was a nice interlude.
‘You Will See Me’ carried on Porter’s slow-building, but ended with a more satisfying conclusion, Dan Le Sac, yet again, showcasing his skills with an extended ending which you really didn’t want to finish. The following four songs, spread across the end of the gig and the encore were back-t0-back tunes that really hit the high notes. ‘Get Better’ is a song aimed at my own age group, and an excellent alternative pop song, with pretty unsubtle messages, but a fun refrain. Last tune of the night (provisionally!), was ‘Thou Shall Always Kill’, another fun song, complimented by an awesome music video that EVERYONE should see, in which Pip lists off another alternative; this time of the Ten Commandments.
The inevitable cries of ‘ENCORE, ENCORE’ brought two more fan faves; the best song of Pip’s burgeoning solo career, ‘Introdiction’, a song that allows Pip to get primal and savagely spit into the mic, before a great twist on the end song. Many acts like to finish with a bang, their loudest, most popular song, these two are different though, wheeling out little known first album track, ‘A Letter From God to Man’ to bookend their gig. It’s not a dance number by any stretch of the imagination, but sees Pip delve into spoken word territory from his own big book of rap, before the pace quickens and the pulsing beat allows for Dan Le Sac to take centre stage. In many ways it’s the strongest song of the night, showcasing each man’s talents to the max and allowing Le Sac to take the plaudits of the crowd with an extended ending, as he delves into The Prodigy for some big dance DJ-ing. It’s an unexpected ending and a wild end to a wildly diverse evening.
So, in a direct message to messrs Pip and le Sac, on behalf of myself, the hundreds packed into the Rescue Rooms and the other tour venues: DON’T make this your last ever tour together; take your time apart, pursue your solo musical (and poetical) interests all you like, but come back to this experimental, mental project at some point for your loyal fans if not for anything else. Please!