Elli Ingram is already being compared to Amy Winehouse. The 20 year old from Brighton does have a slightly similar vocal inflection to Ms Winehouse and is also signed to the same label (Island), but I think it’s more down to lazy journalism that any real similarities. She has an EP out entitled “The Doghouse” and it’s this and a selection of other songs that she showcases with her three piece band tonight. This was my first time hearing her music and whilst it was ok, there was nothing that immediately stood out for me. One to watch for the future and I guess she’ll have to shake off the Winehouse comparisons to properly develop her own career.
The trio of De La Soul comprise Posdnuos (the bald one), Trugoy the Dove (with ever present baseball cap) and DJ Maseo and they’re here to celebrate the release of their debut album “3 Feet High And Rising” which is twenty-five years old now. Before they come out, Bill Ray who is on Maseo’s label, serves as warm up MC to get the crowd hyped up for the main event. It was good that they gave him a spot but the sold out crowd was already more than hyped up for De La Soul so his cliched performance felt more like something to endure before we could get to see what we actually came for.
Once they finally get on stage they’re greeted with a huge welcome and proceed to power through a dynamic rundown of their greatest hits. So we get to hear classics like “A Roller Skating Jam Named Saturdays”, “Potholes In My Lawn”, “Stakes Is High” and a raucous version of “Me, Myself and I” sung along by the exuberant crowd. They also perform their verses from “Feel Good Inc.”, their collaboration with Damon Albarn’s Gorillaz and it still sounds as fresh as when it was released in 2005. All through the set the three friends vibe off each other and display an easy rapport that comes from knowing each other since high school. They also constantly interact with the audience in the good old Hip Hop tradition of call and response but keep things lively and amusing rather than hackneyed or cliche. There’s another mass sing-along when the familiar drum intro to “The Magic Number” comes in, then it’s the end of what has been an entertaining show.
Longevity in Hip Hop has it’s place as long as artists enjoy what they’re doing and present an entertaining show. Both Public Enemy and De La Soul understand this and that’s why they’re still touring to this day. More importantly, it’s why people are still coming to see them play live.