Pharoahe Monch

July 24th, 2004

It beats me how crowds know when to turn up for the gig. Sometimes when the ticket says doors open at seven, the gig or support starts pretty much at that time. Other times, like tonight, I feel extremely keen, standing amongst only nine or ten people, waiting nervously for the venue to slowly fill so that one of my favourite artists sees fit to come on stage and perform. Pharoahe eventually did, after a five or six song set by a support group which had energetic beats, but very little interest from their audience. The wannabe American cockneys soon cleared the stage and the Queens MC appeared, alongside a very impressive DJ who demonstrated some top notch scratching techniques, a young man who was part background vocalist and part hype man and a very impressive young lady singing very soulful choruses and backing sounds. The packed venue, one bar and one balcony down due to a fire a couple of weeks ago, was gradually getting extremely rowdy. There were a mixture of tracks from ‘Internal Affairs’ and the Organized Konfusion days as well as the internet released ‘Agent Orange’, a remarkably fresh and relevant song considering its been doing the rounds online for over a year now. Predictably, the highest point of the night was the performance of ‘Simon Says’, the trademark Pharoahe track which had energy levels raising the roof. Performed towards the end of the hour set, the song demonstrated the strong following its artist has, his ability to entertain and provide a set which increased the energy and feel good factor with every track. Two or three new tracks, an acapella freestyle and a couple of mentions that ‘the new album’s coming soon’ left the crowd shouting considerably louder than most I’ve seen as their entertainer left the stage. Pharoahe made his way back, for one song only, before signing t-shirts and CD’s. Great sound quality in a great venue, for a great MC who gave a great performance with immense ease. When new material eventually gets a release, listen out for a top notch track including punchlines referring to R Kelly and pissing on women and priests getting their hands on the young.