Dizzee storms the bastion of indie and the disco ball quakes – it’s showtime
Trilby manufacturers are worried. Lost in the Babyshambles boom of 2005, the silly milliners bought a house and put their kids into private education. Unfortunately, though, it doesn’t look like little Frankie will long be attending Faris’ alma mater; there’s a new hat in town. Tonight indie’s capital rocks beneath New Era and it’s all because of one man.
“Yo, London,” barks Dizzee Rascal, his muscle playground of a chest bordered by trousers big enough to hold an indie family of five and a box-fresh NE cap. “We gonna go rowdy… Oiiiiii!!!!”
As ‘Fix Up, Look Sharp’’s orchestrated apocalypse beats explode, a sea of New Era hits the roof – Camden town is juddering, tectonic plates are quivering, somewhere in LA Jeff Goldblum’s gin and tonic is rippling. Rascal’s been away for two years and in that time he’s left behind the middle-aged pontificators of the Mercury Music Prize; today his fans are the new ravers. And quite right too – their Technicolored epilepsy trousers are basically designed on the sound of his voice. The indie compass, guided by Hadouken!, has now landed on reinventing grime as the party music for stylish white kids – too late though, grime’s grandfather beat them too it.
Muse may not exactly be cacking their million-dollar Wembley pants about his stage show – two men pacing in front of some decks on a black table cloth – but as Dylan Mills strolls onstage, surrounded by a barrage of love and the insane hip-hopera crescendos of ‘Jus’ A Rascal’, it’s clear he doesn’t need a luminous air balloon orchestra to grab attention – they’re happy to gasp at his plain, old-fashioned genius.
Three albums in and watching him rap may not have the same what-the-fuck factor as his earlier shows but, at a time when
Just Jack is Britain’s answer to Method Man and even Americans can’t MC any more, it’s still astonishing.
Unfortunately, most of this crowd aren’t quite in the same league, so when Rascal lets them fill in on ‘I Luv U’’s still-terrifying megatronic rape alarm rhythms, “ThagiRrreebra!ndrUff..o…gphpHphy” is about the best they can do. ‘Flex’ is a hypnotic beast, while ‘Da Feelin’’, tedious on record, floors a room full of people who didn’t realise they’d ever wanted to be at a drum’n’bass rave. It’s when revelling in the raw terror/pure grime of ‘Stop Dat’ or ‘Jezebel’, though, that Dizzee Rascal is at his generation-defining best. This riot-clatter reaches an awesome peak with Korn-in-Bow anthem ‘Sirens’, which follows a wise piece of editing by DJ Semtex, who cuts out the pop pap of ‘Dream’ two bars in and drops the mental-machine-music of Dizzee’s last single instead.
Never mind who’s in his crowd, it’s like Dizzee’s never been away. Grime star? Indie hero? Alienated genius? Conquering pioneer? Well, if the cap fits…