I’ve never really understood the term ‘intimate gig’ before. I attribute it to competitions offered out on T4 or low-budget music channels that give you the chance to win an ‘intimate gig with the Sugababes’. I simply took it to mean ‘they’re struggling to sell tickets, so it’ll be pretty empty’.
That was until I was given birthday gift tickets to Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip at the O2 Academy as part of Liverpool Music Week.
The Le Sac and Pip audience was a varied one. The gig took place in the smaller room at the academy, attracting a decent sized crowd of teens, tweens and beyond – the later possibly attracted due to Pip’s appearances as a spoken word poet prior to his gravitation towards music.
Support acts came in the form of the very electronic Kid A, and very the bizarre and eccentric Misty’s Big Adventure (sample lyric ‘you painted me as a paedophile Priest’ whilst a mutation of Happy Monday’s Bez made shapes in a large furry dinosaur outfit).
When Le Sac and Pip took to the stage the true meaning of ‘intimate gig’ hit home. Pip involved the crowd at every available opportunity. Whether it was to do the timeworn lounge act gimmick of getting the crowd to sing the chorus, or to answer questions and respond to drunken hollers from the shadows, Pip made sure there was no dead air – even taking time out to explain the meaning behind songs or jokingly acknowledge how some of the more darker lyrics are played off against up-beat music.
Hip Hop Is Art and Thou Shalt Always Kill are songs that indicate Pip’s disdain for pop culture, and highlights how the transition to mainstream is off limits, unless it’s on their terms – a markedly different approach to Example’s (a collaborator with Pip before finding fame), who went from hip-hop on What We Made, to the chart friendly Will Smith-esque poppy sound of the Won’t Go Quietly album.
The Beat That My Heart Skipped energised the crowd whilst Angles and Look For The Woman satisfied my need for songs that tell a story. The night was rounded off by the closer Letter From God To Man- Pip’s interpretation of the higher power’s frustration at humanity.
It’s hard to bracket Le Sac and Pip into any specific genre (a headache for a mogul trying to break hem into bigger markets perhaps?) but to me, that’s a big part of their appeal. Their sound and tempo vary from song to song. One minute you are led through a bouncy electronic backbeat, before dipping into slow, thick, old school kick snare hip hop. Even if you only see them once, they’re definitely worth a try whether you are fan of music, poetry or both.
Pic: Keith Trigwell