The prospect of two white, thirty something hip-hop artists performing in a west-country student union may not sound like much, when those two artists are Dan Le Sac and Scroobius Pip, and they’re performing tracks from their latest breathtaking album, it’s a show not to be missed.
The duo released their second album last year after a five year wait, and it’s the tracks from Repent, Replenish, Repeat which makeup the backbone of their show at Exeter’s Lemon Grove, as they have every night of a tour that is proving to be a runaway success.
Kicking things off with album opener Stunner, the pair seemed to be on course to peak early, as Pip fired off the verses to The Beat That My Heart Skipped, Sick Tonight, and Look For The Woman, while Dan’s beats got the crowd jumping, as the bass dropped towards the brown notes.
They were then joined onstage by support act Sarah Williams White for a rendition of Cauliflower which verged on Lily Allenesque, before things took a darker turn.
While the pair have a great back catalogue, matching rhythms to rhymes, they also have a slower side, and it’s won applause from fans all over the country on this latest tour. Pip’s menacing rendition of Porter really brought a new intensity to the track, as he hunched on a chair reciting his twisted story of fairytale heroines turned mental patients to a darkened room, the isolation and paranoia was almost tangible.
That was followed by Nightbus Sleepers, one of many songs which mixes wordplay with social commentary and wry observation, before the touching Terminal. For this standout track, Dan’s simple backing chords grew in strength, rising to a euphoric finish as the wasted heroine protagonist finally takes her own life plunging off a London bridge.
Things got boisterous again (Pip’s words, not mine) with Angles involving a new costume for each character, the explosive Stiff Upper Lip, during which all the kids at the front got a little over excited for Pip and guest and former King Bluesman Itch’s fiery, rabble rousing ode to civil disobedience (complete with incomprehensible, even to the singer, hand gestures. Imagine a sea of hands doing a very bad chicken shadow-puppet), and single Gold Teeth.
Dan le Sac got the crowd bouncing wildly for the aspirational Get Better, with Pip warning them not to wear themselves out but to bounce all the way through. Then what was probably the crowning glory of the evening, another slowed down song, You Shall See Me, with every fibre of Pip’s being pouring cold, backlit vitriol while the tune behind him reached a soul-crushing crescendo.
The encore kept the crowd happy with old favourites, including Thou Shalt Always Kill and Letter From God to Man, but Scroobius Pip’s heritage as a spoken word performer showed through, and the less hip-hop tracks drew at least as much admiration and applause from the crowd as the old floor fillers.