Dan Le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip at Manchester Academy 2.
Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip. They've built up quite a reputation as far as live shows go. And why shouldn't they. Their audiences get treated to a DJ armed with both incredibly likeable charisma and infectious beats, and a spoken word artist with some of the most engaging poetry-rap crossover that your average layman will be able to get their teeth into. You go along with expectations of a true 'performance' rather than a gig, and they didn't disappoint on this tour.
It's worth mentioning the night's support, an opening slot from Kid A, who became the guest vocalist on stage to perform their latest single 'Cauliflower' on which she featured. The second slot came from the wonderfully peculiar Misty's Big Adventure. Erotic Volvo, the glove-covered dancer, is one of the trippiest things you could ever wish to have flail before your eyes, and a musical interlude enquiring 'Can I have a biscuit?' put everyone into the best, most bemused and most receptive of moods.
Those that had been to one of their shows before might have been wondering what their stage set might be like, given the use of a touring living room, lectern and props in the past. This time, it was more stripped back, two simple lighting trusses illuminating their names in the background. It was as if there wasn't really a need for the kind of props they had used in the past, people got what they were about now and that's why they had come out to see their show. Scroobius Pip does remain to look ever refined choosing to swig from a bottle of rose rather than a warm can of lager. He's a man of taste. Even if it was quite possibly Echo Falls.
There was plenty to showcase from this year's album, 'The Logic of Chance', including renditions of singles 'Get Better' and 'Great Britain'. 'Sick Tonight' made for a scorching opening number, the words being spat out with the greatest ferocity and the beat encouraging the most enthusiastic of foot-tapping. 'Stake A Claim' is a newer example of them at their socio-political, sans preachy best, the chance to speak out to a crowd who hang on Pip's every word being grasped with both hands. Equally, Dan is given a chance to shine and creatively tinker about with tracks like 'The Beat' where Pip slinks off to have a little sit down in the well-used touring armchair set towards the back of the stage. The punchy dance rhythm and tasty bass-line pumping throughout the room as well as the spontaneous flashes of Le Sac genius got the crowd pulled in to the atmosphere of the night.
It was definitely the material from 'Angles' that got the crowd more involved. They were treated to 'Tommy C', a song that seemed to have unjustly missed the final cut of the set list on previous tours, given the sheer greatness of that particular song. 'Angles', another firm favourite with the fans works brilliantly on a live stage with Pip at his 'performance poet' best, using small costume changes and props to differentiate between the characters of the narrative-driven track. 'Magician's Assistant', one of the most outstanding tracks from 'Angles' was treated in a slightly different manner from the album, more of a dance approach taken to the beat. It seemed to detract slightly from the actual emotional content of the song, but a decent performance nonetheless.
The whole crowd seemed to be waiting for the big two, 'Thou Shalt Always Kill' delivered with a large book in hand, and 'Letter From God To Man', complete with letter prop. The latter possibly clinched it as the song of the night as the crowd had well and truly let themselves go by the end of the set, and it was allowed to climax with a thoroughly worked live remix to see both Dan Le Sac and Scroobius Pip off stage. The other highlight that must be noted is of course, the relationship between the duo and then in turn with the audience. Without a doubt, it made the show. The banter bouncing between the two is so real and natural, it is a pleasure to watch that alone.
You will have a little wait until you get to see Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip live again, but when they are next in tour, it would serve you well to go and see them.