London King’s Cross Scala

Impressive, but more importantly [I]entertaining[/I]....

The harshest environments yield the strongest specimens, and inspiration comes from the least likely sources. Accordingly, [a]DJ Vadim[/a] – born in the harsh environs of Russia, resident of the less harsh south London district, Croydon – is one of the strongest, most inspired decknicians of recent times.

Not one for head-spinning, flashy needlework, Vadim and his sidekick Mr Thing lay down neat licks and lithe noise, little cuts and seismic sweeps. Human beatbox Killa Kella deals spluttering oral funk, a solid fatback for the DJs to improvise over. This is live hip-hop without all the bad jazz-funk nightmares the term can suggest.

It’s also, most definitely, ALIVE, especially when MCs Blu Rum 13 and Sarah Jones enter the equation. Blu‘s a machine-gun freestyler, supersmart and never lost for words; Jones is a little more considered, a poet/playwright whose flow ably deflates the male-rapper ego on ‘Your Revolution’.

Grinning beatifically behind his decks, Vadim pulls the needle up as Kella launches into a unique take on Pharoahe Monch‘s ‘Simon Says…’. Not once taking centre stage, he is nonetheless the star tonight, weaving these bare elements into some rebirth of hip-hop cool. Impressive, but more importantly [I]entertaining[/I].