diamond geezer

 Friday, February 07, 2003

The Streets - Brixton Academy

   you're listening to the streets
   you will bear witness to some amazing feats
   bravery in the face of defeat
   all line up and grab your seat

Geezers need excitement, so it was off down to Brixton to see The Streets as part of the NME Awards tour. "The who?" they asked at work when I told them where I was going. Never mind, you'll all hear about fresh-faced Mikey Skinner when he sweeps the Brit Awards in a fortnight's time.

The Brixton Academy filled up with lads in hoodies, dwarf girls fresh from Claire's Accessories, hip twenty-something music-lovers and gangs of weedheads from Billericay sixth form colleges. The ethnic mix inside the venue was exactly the opposite of that on the streets outside, more Beastie Boys than Grandmaster Flash. We had to stand through Killa Kela, the human beatbox (very very impressive, but just the once thanks) and the woefully miscast More Fire Crew. And finally, about 11, on came the original pirate material.

Mike Skinner's not a big bloke, but he had geezerly stage presence by the barrowboy-load. Cheeky and sharp, he smiled out from under his baseball cap, mesmerising the crowd into action. We were treated to 80 minutes of lager-fuelled suburban rapping, showcasing the whole of the last album. Turn The Page was a rabble-rousing crowd-pleasing opener, the sharp wit of Too Much Brandy hit the target audience square on, and the encore of Let's Push Things Forward merged perfectly with The Specials' Ghost Town, A video screen provided visual accompaniment - a moped ride across London, Hampstead Heath benchlife, spliffed-out sofa junkies, and a bloke dressed only in red y-fronts smashing up his car with an iron bar. Not every track worked live, and there were so many lyrics it was tough to chant along, but the gig was a triumph nonetheless. Genius.

   blinded with the lights
   blinded with the lights
   dizzy new heights

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