So, Public Enemy are on tour number 70 and it’s a European jaunt before they head off to South Africa and Nigeria. This isn’t your typical hip hop work ethic, even leaving aside the fact that they’ve been touring since 1987 that’s still 70 tours in 23 years – an impressive average of 3 tours a year.
The IndigO2 is suitably full, as the band have always had an affinity with the UK and London in particular. Their sound influenced a whole era of UK hip hop that became known as Britcore (pretty self explanatory from the name) and they were accepted in the UK immediately whereas what they were doing took a little while to resonate in the States.
Support comes from Sway, whose witty lyricism has brought a much needed sense of humour to UK hip hop pretty much since he started. He’s engaging and entertaining and is a perfect support act for the main event.
I’ve been going to see Public Enemy play live since they first came over and played in Hammersmith in 1987. Their stage show displays a level of commitment to bring their fans an entertaining set that definitely makes them the best live hip hop act around. Backed by The Banned, led by Brian Hardgroove, and with DJ Lord on the turntables there’s few who can match them for on stage dynamics. Professor Griff isn’t here due to “passport issues”, something that’s dogged his appearances with the group for years now, but the S1W’s are represented by long term stalwarts Pop Diesel and James Bomb.
We get all the hits in a show that lasts the best part of three hours. “Public Enemy No. 1”, “Welcome to the terrordome”, “Bring the noise and “Rebel without a pause” all standing out in a hyperactive set. Chuck and Flavour Flav are great frontmen, both displaying boundless energy. No bad thing considering MistaChuck turned 50 in August and Flav is 51!
Showing bands half their age how to do a real hip hop show, I’m always going to make time to see these veterans in the game bringing the noise.
A previous review of when they played the whole of “It takes a nation of millions to hold us back” in May 2008: