Ms Dynamite : London Brixton Academy

...she's so street tramps could kip on her...

There's something rather disconcerting about heavily pregnant women clambering onstage - remember the buoyant and slightly hysterical Catherine Zeta Jones receiving her Oscar? It's simultaneously worrying and amusing; the combination of that scary rush of oestrogen and the fear that they might take off, blimp-like, at any moment. But tonight nothing is holding Ms Dynamite back. She just takes a few more toilet breaks than your average MC.

Dynamite can come across as too wholesome, but entering to a rapturous crowd with underground garage hit, 'Booo!' she's so street tramps could kip on her. But it's a false start. When 'Booo!' is over we're plunged straight into dinner party soundtrack territory, as her backing group dish out harmless lightweight funk. But Dynamite is clearly the star; looking far more than 50 cents she makes constant shout-outs to the 'ladies', probably ignoring the men because one of the unfairer sex landed her up the duff.

This point is laboured pre-'Put Him Out'; "how many good men are there out there?" she cries, "and how many of you are lying?" At best it's millennial girl power over a stop-start funk bass line. At worst it's jumped-up Ricki Lake, though only the coldest heart wouldn't feel vaguely touched by 'Brother''s baby photo backdrop, when we get a chance to witness the beginning stages of Dynamite.

It's just the band's sub-James Brown-isms that incite cause for concern; sounding depressingly like something Jamie Oliver would cook to. Even 'It Takes More' gets mellowed out to become a limp, indistinct hotchpotch. It's depressing, because if she got her focus right Ms Dynamite could be truly explosive.

Leonie Cooper

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