That they’ll be allowed to leave the country without playing at least one festival is a disgrace...

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NERD : London Shepherd's Bush Empire

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NERD : London Shepherd’s Bush Empire

No-one ever really dies, but when hip-hop acts take to the stage most of them come perilously close.

Things didn’t look good for [a][/a]

– their debut album, ‘In Search Of…’ contains several jazz spag-out signposts (Exhibit A: ‘…’ in title), and when NME hears that Chad Hugo, less charismatic than Pharrell Williams but still an important[a][/a], won’t be on stage tonight (he’s, er, still in America), the whole thing sounds irredeemably crap. Oh, the irony: so good at making hits for other people, so useless at carrying it off themselves.

In fact, the only irony of this show is that the most important production team of the past three years are even more exciting live than they are on record. The moment ‘Brain’ touches down this is clearly the show bands have been attempting for well over a decade – fired up hip hop, balls-out rock, massive tunes. Still early days, but [a][/a]

are already an expert live act, and when Kelis arrives for ‘Truth Or Dare’ she only just outshines Pharrell’s own natural charisma. That they’ll be allowed to leave the country without playing at least one festival is a disgrace.

Peter Robinson