Run DMC: London Mean Fiddler

Hip-hop godfathers hit London in support of their new 'Crown Royal' album...

On the same night that Linkin Park and Deftones play to thousands of rapt fans at the cavernous Docklands Arena, the group that invented the rap-rock genre are playing one of the capital’s more ‘intimate’ venues. Without Run DMC’s groundbreaking Aerosmith collaboration,’Walk This Way’, it’s arguable whether the ‘Tones or the ‘Park would have sounded quite like they do today, or, perhaps, even existed.

Tonight, rap-rock’s grandfathers are on a whistlestop tour of Europe to promote their less-than-rapturously received new ‘Crown Royal’ album, to a less-than-than hardcore crowd of part-time Run fans, eager to hear them play their biggest hit in years, the annoying remix of their first ever single ‘It’s Like That’, by Jason Nevins.

Thankfully, the song only emerges briefly in between a medley of old hits like ‘It’s Tricky’ before they run through new material like the recent Jermaine Dupri collaboration ‘It’s Over’ and the newly-released team up with Third Eye Blind’s

Stephan Jenkins, ‘Rock Show’.

It’s soon evident that Run DMC still know how to move the crowd. Backed by Jam Master Jay’s unmistakable scratching skills, the two rappers who changed the world trade off each other’s classic rhymes with the enthusiasm and energy of a group half their age – when DMC removes his shirt, signs it and throws it to the

crowd, his torso is that of a Venice Beach bodybuilder. Following the shirt-removal, DMC hollers: “It belongs in the rock and roll hall of fame.” Nobody disagrees.

We even get to see Run usurp Jam Master Jay’s position at the decks, showing us he still possesses the skills that saw him DJ-ing for Kurtis Blow back in the day. Stripped down, free of fireworks but full of hip-hop panache, Run DMC may be back to playing the same size venues as when they first started, but as showmen, they’ve still got the skills to pay the bills.

Andy Capper