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Friday, 9 June 2017

FOR THE RECORD: SUGARHILL GANG & FURIOUS 5 Live @ Hangar 34, Liverpool (8/6/17)


The Real Get Down.

This is not a test! Delight was in full effect for rap fans in The Beatle, Rock-N-Roll Hall Of Fame town of Liverpool last night. Like colour T.V.'s on the wall. Or the Knicks playing basketball. As the first real, rap group and fellow R&R H.O.F. inductees in the same year as Miles Davis, U2 and of course George Harrison, the Sugarhill Gang brought the 70's pioneering golden age, true old school, hip-hop era back like a Baz Lurhman Netflix show.

Hotel? Motel? Holiday Inn? It didn't matter how the gang got down last night as after sugaring Liverpool with their biggest hits, Wonder Mike, Master Gee and the Flava Flav dressed and Sceptre staff, cane-wielding hype Henry 'Henn Dogg' Williams brought their friends, all whilst honouring the late, great Big Hank. As two fifths of the Furious 5 showed the kid Cudi's and Kendrick's of today that their name had nothing to do with a Vin Diesel car franchise vehicle sequel. As Scorpio stung like a Scorpion with his signature syllable soundbites and the "RAH" of great Grandmaster Melle Mel brought a melee of beats and rhymes.

Exploding on stage like a fire hydrant on a Bed-Stuy Summer. All whilst flexing like he could bench press fellow pioneering legendary icon LL Cool J, whilst pushing 60 and a grey goatee. Skipping and shuffling across stage like Ali on the canvas as the pair furiously tore through classic gems like 'White Lines' and of course 'The Message'. One of the greatest was easily the most entertaining thing about this energy-redefining evening that was something like a phenomenon and only missing Grandmaster Flash on the turntables.

Hanging on to these legends every word in Liverpool's hip new Hangar 34 venue (whose exterior is littered with great graffiti featuring A Tribe Called Quest's classic 'Low End Theory' cover), Sugarhill had everyone joining their gang last night. Proving that even approaching the age of the decade they made rap relevant they were still a knockout to these young pretenders like Sugar Ray. Leonard or Robinson.

A perfect precursor to the first rap Grammy, D.J. Jazzy Jeff and Will Smith's Fresh Prince Summer festival with The Jackson's in the U.K.'s Vegas of Blackpool. Sugar's Master and Wonder had everyone doing the Will and Carlton stank face, Bel-Air shake and spin to 'Apache'. Bringing the classics back like that fan favourite 'Fresh Prince' scene, "awooga" akin to being hooked on a 'Guardians Of The Galaxy' volume feeling. But this packed out crowd really hit the high notes after the legendary coming of golden era age 'Rappers Delight' rhymes went bar for bar like more credit cards than a sucka could ever spend.

As both groups united to roll through other hip-hop greats and rock with the hometown Beatles motto of 'All You Need Is Love'. In a truly beautiful moment of musical and cultural solidarity, standing and singing in the face of everything that has gone on in the world, this country and in concert venues recently. It was truly something special as all these untouchable greats fist-bumped, shook hands and pointed at individual members of the crowd telling them that they loved them. Refreshing in a stand-offish genre and industry today too concerned with looking too "hard" or full of hate. Last night when it came to raps realest you needed nothing more. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

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