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Scroobius Pip @ Coalition - Friday 11th November 2011
Words & Pictures by James Kendall
Is the first thing we mention about Scroobius Pip still his Top 40 poetry-hop hit ‘Thou Shall Always Kill’? Yeah, we guess it is but, despite how brilliant that song was, it's changing. The bearded rapper’s new album ‘Distraction Pieces’ is starting to eclipse the hit that put him on the festival circuit. Sacking off his partner Dan Le Sac, Pip has looked back to his previous job as bass player in a punk band by drafting in Trent Reznor’s mate Renholdër for a very British, much more intelligent take on nu-metal.
The packed Coalition is very much here to hear this new album, pushed right down the front, eager for the mosh pit to get started. It’s a marked difference to when we’ve seen Scroobius Pip before, staining to make out the clever lyrics as that was all that was going on. But free of Le Sac, Pip has stepped right up as a performer.
Before he turns up though we’re treated to some heavy hip hop tunes by a mystery DJ in a alien mask. It’s not rocket science to work out who it is but when Scroobius whips of the mask to reveal his trademark beard and trucker’s cap, the crowd go crazy. His guitarist and drummer come on and then it’s foot-on-floor, serious rock with Pip’s quick-witted words on top. It’s heavy stuff in the main, like the infamous Judgment Night soundtrack, all crunching guitars and heavy beats.
But it all stands and falls on the main man. Luckily he’s charming, self-deprecating and easy on the mic. He’s also funny, and much camper than we remember (is that guyliner?), reminding us of Russell Brand. His between-song banter suggests that if he ever wants to try his hand at stand up he’ll be made. At one point he claims to be the cousin of Brighton’s X-Factor evictee Frankie, suggesting that "if [like the rest of the family] he grew a beard he'd be alright." His anti-Movember rant is perhaps the highlight of the whole night.
There are occasional moments of jazziness, but the pseudo-deep Streets vibe of ‘Broken Promises’ shows that the crowd are as enthusiastic to listen to the lyrics as the are to jump up and down. The "good levels of rowdiness" brings a reward though. Scroobius Pip ends his best gigs by crowd surfing from the stage to the merch stand. Tonight that’s at the back of the Coalition. Needless to say he makes it with ease. With this much support from his fans, how could he not?
Date: Friday 25th November 2011