Make it a large one!...
The Flux Capacitor – as everybody knows – is what makes time travel possible. What makes time stand still are the senses: a smell; a taste; an album that perfectly soundtracks the moment you first heard it. The Streets’ ‘A Grand Don’t Come For Free’ was the sound of May 2004. It’s as if that’s what we did on our summer hols: we hung out with Mental Mike, renting DVDs, getting lost in clubs and queuing for chips. These days, Mike’s got some new friends and he’s determined to show them off. Kano is the future face of east London grime. He storms through dark, punk-crossed two-step like ‘Reload It’ and current single ‘Typical Me’ with the help of silver-tongued henchmen Demon and Ghetto. Then there’s The Mitchell Brothers – Teddy and Tony – the first signings to Mike’s new record label and masters at getting a crowd going. They split the audience in half to see who can chant “Tony/Teddy’s a cunt” the loudest. There’s even an 8-Mile style battle where last night’s winner, Professor Green from Bristol, loses to a bloke in a hood from the ’Mouth.
It’s all part of Mental Mike’s new idea, the Ten Round Tour. Here, he plans to play ten songs per night in ten different cities, downing ten drinks per evening. There’s even a bell between rounds, and bottles of spirits with optics onstage. Clad in a pink polo shirt (with “Mikey Streets” on the back), Round Two (Portsmouth) is proving to be a tricky beast. “This is the craziest gig I’ve ever played,” yells Mike, as the booze-cam (connected to a bottle of JD) becomes the “boob-cam” and girls yank up their tops for all to see during ‘Geezers Need Excitement’, as well as a few less apt titles.
The crowd are going so mental that tonight, Mike is almost the most sane man in the house. He’s also the only performer who could get away with having a sofa delivered onstage mid-show so that he and fellow Street Leo (“The Lion” – as his yellow polo shirt testifies) can have a bit of a sit down and we can all watch the video to ‘The Irony Of It All’ instead.
Even if you hate The Streets, you’d be hard pushed to deny that this performance is nothing short of brilliant. Innovation, stage presence, choreography, improvisation, comedy, passion, sweat: it’s got it all. Proving that you don’t have to be mad to be in The Streets but if you’re mental, it might just help.