Half-men, full on hip hop machines.
Bounding on stage to ‘Half Man, Half Machine’ Goldie Lookin’ Chain looked as though they hadn’t been out of the limelight for a minute, let alone the few years that have passed since they had been back on the touring trail. The Glasgow crowd was pumped and ready for action and I’d like to say the amount of sports and leisure wear on show was higher than normal but given that it was a Friday night in Glasgow, it was probably about the same level.
The band immediately showed that they had evolved and listened to what’s been happening in recent years as the song played out over a sample of Daft Punk’s ‘Robot Rock’ ensuring the mix of music and humour was still at the top of priorities for the Newport massive.
The humour element shown by the band gives critics an easy opportunity to write them off and discredit them but you cannot fault the effort and energy shown by every member of the band. One of the major criticisms of hip-hop in the live arena is the lack of crowd interaction and showmanship shown by some of the main purveyors but this was pure audience driven entertainment. The initial stage repartee was focussed on being in Scotland and Eggsy seemed particularly taken by square sausages, which apparently aren’t too common around the rest of Britain. It’s hard to imagine a proper breakfast without a square sausage and the King Tuts crowd roared their approval of the on-stage chat. There may not have been as much of a positive crowd response to being asked if people had ever drank a pint of their own love juice but it was a valid question. And given that 50 Cent got away with asking 21 questions, it would be wrong to decry the Chain the same opportunity.
The band still had their old favourites on show with ‘Charm School’, still complete with the Grange Hill sample allowing Adam Hussein the chance to take centre stage and the entire group to bound to the front of the stage with backing vocals and hip hop moves and shapes. Even the most hardened cynic would have taken great enjoyment from the performance and with regards to giving value for money and working hard to entertain the crowd, the band genuinely can’t be faulted.
Given that there is a new album on the way, there was an airing for new material, which can sometimes be hit or miss in a live show when the crowd don’t know it. The way was eased slightly by the playing of ‘By Any Means Necessary’, the new single and as usual, the song was preceded by a rather salubrious tale and the chorus contained plenty of crowd interaction points. Perhaps the mainstream charts aren’t too welcoming for the band anymore (although they take the opportunity to remind the audience of their number one hits in over thirty countries) but if this song gets airplay or is found on the internet, it will get a fan base energised again. The strange thing surrounding this gig is the number of people who responded positively to the bands name and actually seemed surprised that the band was still going. If ‘By Any Means Necessary’ or forthcoming singles can nudge their way back into the consciousness of people, there is no reason why a second coming of the GLC can’t happen.
Sure the boys offer humour but there is an element of social commentary and views on the world which can be overlooked by many, the GLC are certainly a band with plenty to say about where they are coming from or where their fan base is at but it can get lost at times due to the ease of pigeonholing the group. They are a party band for party people but they definitely aren’t as dumb as many would like to make them out.
Looking around the audience, the fact that it was a Friday night helped but the crowd was jumping from start to finish and it was a broad mix of people. If you are snobbish about hip hop and music, then yes, you are never going to fully enjoy the GLC experience but with tracks like ‘Guns Don’t Kill People, Rappers Do’, ‘Soapbar’ and ‘Your Mothers Got A Penis’ still sounding as fresh and funny as they did on first release, a night out with the Newport boys is a guarantee of a great time.