Sunday 8th May, 2005 @ Carling Academy, Liverpool.
The fans of Brighton based DJ Format and his Canadian co-horts MC Abdominal and D-Sisive, always point out how original they are amongst today's popular rap scene. That they don't bother with pantomime feuds like 50 Cent and The Game do. They care about the rap, but not for rap's current clichés.
The gig started off brilliantly with support band Little Barry, who possessed the technical abilities of a Clapton Supergroup. Their cool blend of blues and funk went down well and worked the crowd up nicely for the headliners.
The guys came on to a huge roar and broke into a few anthems from Format's debut LP, "Music For The Mature B-boy", before performing the songs from new album, "If You Can't Join 'Em Beat 'Em". The most popular song from which was undoubtedly Ugly Brother, when certain lines were met with mass whooping from the fans, similar to the crowd in 8 Mile. Despite the album's title, the style is more fun old school stuff than anything confrontational.
In between songs the performers often took time out to mingle with the audience. The most enjoyable being the appearance of Dan from the audience, whom was overjoyed at the challenge of whistling "Return Of The Fuzz" with a bread stick in his mouth. Other perks included Abdominal's 8-bar rap and the duo's attempts to freestyle about the word they picked out of a jar.
D-Sisive and Abdominal bounce well off each other and Format is always soundly in control behind them. The beats are fast and catchy and the content is mellow and free flowing. None of them look like standard rappers, but who cares?
Just like the city in which they were performing, the trio originate from areas that don't have a traditional hip-hop heritage. However, on the strength of this gig, it could well be a different story in a decade's time.