The withdrawal of Melle Mel and the Furious Five opened up a late surprise headliner on the Friday in the shape of the former greatest hip-hop band in the world. The vast walk-up queue on arrival suggested that PE’s audience was not quite yer typical Moseley festivalgoers. I missed everyone bar The Pharcyde, who went down well as a hip-hop party band without tempting me to check out their back catalogue. After the usual hyping we got a band that barely fitted on the Moseley stage: DJ Lord – sadly Terminator X is still on the ostrich farm – Chuck and Flava and then a posse that I think was headed up by Professor Griff who is back in the fold, two S1W brothers in paramilitary gear, and a few other hangers on – all underpinned by a live drummer, guitarist and bass. Did they rip the festival up? Pretty well. No revolution, but a rip-roaring canter through a set of greatest hits – Terrordome, Bring The Noise, Dont Believe the Hype, Shut Em Down, 911, and of course Fight The Power. Many unpredicatable twists in the act – including Flav reinventing himself as Prince and playing both bass and drums, while Chuck D got the mouth organ out (not a sentence I thought I would write). There were references to playing the Hummingbird 28 years ago, but Chuck was in performer rather than politican mode. There were even respectful about the curfew – ‘We got six minutes left’. It was left to Flav to make a closing speech, in which we all said hell no, or words to that effect, to racism and seperatism. Everyone into the night well happy.
The Moseley crowd – guardianistas, families, pimms drinkers, leavened by an influx of more refreshed walk-ups. Sweet smells in the air and everyone happy to chant along.
It made me think..
Surely we don’t complain anymore that hip-hop is boring live as PE are a class act live – spontaneous and tight, playing around with their catalogue while giving the crowd what they want. And it’s great to see guys hanging around onstage doing, well not very much really.