“Oh good god damn and other such phrases, haven’t heard a beat like this in ages” Scroobius Pip – Beat That My Heart Skipped.
Dan Le Sac and Scroobius Pip made their triumphant return to Belfast – and The Limelight – on Friday night as they stormed onto the stage and captivated the audience throughout. As the gig got closer, it became apparent that, despite the atrocious weather, fans would be out in force to see their hip-hop heroes. More tickets were released, and The Limelight must have almost been at capacity by the time the duo hit the stage. Part of the appeal when it comes to Le Sac and Pip is the way that they engage with fans – be it via social media or when they are on the stage. Pip delighted those who got to the gig early by manning his merch stall, posing for photos with fans and happily chatting to those in line. It may be a seemingly small gesture, but it’s the kind of thing that has people smiling from the off.
This was always destined to be a fascinating show. Le Sac and Pip’s latest record, Repent Replenish Repeat provided them with their biggest commercial success so far, though the most powerful tracks on there are slow, atmospheric numbers, and fans had every right to wonder how they would work in the live environment. It was, of course, an utter success.
As soon as the opening beats to Stunner filled the room, the audience was hooked. Pip’s voice boomed out, though he didn’t actually take to the stage until the song was in full force – and even then only his silhouette was visible thanks to the way he was backlit and an enthusiastic smoke machine.
Then the party started. Beat That My Heart Skipped had the crowd bouncing, as it has time and time again over the years, then Sick Tonight and Look for the Woman provided a look back over Le Sac and Pip’s back catalogue.
It was, of course, Valentine’s Day, and the duo were more than aware of that, joking about it on stage and welcoming support act Sarah Williams White onto stage to perform upbeat love song Cauliflower from 2010’s The Logic of Chance. Dan and Pip share a real affinity on stage – and you can tell that they are genuinely good friends, something that the audience gets a real buzz from. It’s like being invited to their own private party.
Two slower tracks from the new album, Porter and Terminal, held the crowd in a hushed silence, Terminal especially showcasing how Pip’s lyrics can be utterly captivating, and the change of pace, from a bouncy rave-like environment to a huge crowd stood taking in every word was something to marvel at. Fans wouldn’t be quiet for long, as feel-good track Get Better was a real fist-in-the air moment, and the perfect precursor to You Will See Me, arguably the most powerful track of all on the new album. It’s Pip’s ‘fuck you’ moment, and was every bit as filled with venom in The Limelight as it is through a pair of headphones. Those who aren’t necessarily the biggest fans of the duo but have a passing interest will have almost certainly heard Thou Shalt Always, Pip’s unique interpretation of the 10 commandments. It’s been a mainstay, and a highlight, of their sets since the bery beginning and is every bit as captivating now as ever. Pip barks his words, ‘reading’ them from his bible-like book – while the vast majority of the crowd shouted them back at him.
This is a duo at the height of their powers. They are bigger, louder and more successful than ever. However, it’s the fact that, despite all of their success, they still enjoy a laugh on stage and make the audience feel a huge part of the show, which ensures that the performance is such a big hit. It may have been a while since the duo were in Belfast, but they more than made up for it, and left fans hoping that they won’t have to wait as long again before they return. Oh good god damn. I genuinely haven’t heard a beat like that in ages. Dan Williams.