Stereo MCs - Rescue Rooms - Gigs - Reviews - Soundblab

Stereo MCs - Rescue Rooms

by Lawrence Poole Rating:8 Release Date:2011-11-16

Books and covers. Never judge the contents by them we’re forever told. Yet no matter how hard one tries, people and things are still regularly taken on nothing more than face value.

Take Stereo MCs frontman Rob Birch, tonight sporting the ramshackle combination of low-slung jeans, a T-shirt so baggy it could have doubled as a bed sheet, and a tangerine woolly hat that shrouded half of his face. Yet within minutes of the Ruddington-raised dance veteran kicking his five-strong outfit into gear, it was immediately apparently just what a red herring his stage attire was.

Ably supported by the engaging, blissed-out electronica of local quintet Anomic Soul - fronted by powerhouse vocalist Cathy Morphew – Stereo MCs have been connecting with audiences since the 1992 breakthrough and, on this form, will continue to do so for some years yet.

Flagged by two sassy vocalists, the 54-year-old and co-founder and DJ Nick Hallam still possess energy and verve in spades.

So much so that Birch appears to have suffered for his art, with both his elbow and lower arm wearing supports (it didn’t prevent him from wearing his bling though with a chunky watch donned over said support – an accu-rist??).

Neither prevented him from powering through in full on MC mode though, taking the audience with him from the moment the frenetic Fade Away struck into gear.

From then on it was simply breathless. With giddy anthem after anthem whipping the crowd into the type of joyous frenzy that Saturday nights were made from.

Of course we got the hits, the bass-o-matic Connected and soulful Step It Up, but such was the quality of the rest of the set, it really wouldn’t have mattered if we hadn’t.

Pressure and Ground Level kept the radar firmly honed on party mode.

Birch’s showmanship and loose, yet tight orchestration of his band has clearly been polished over two decades of performing and was a real pleasure to witness and be a part of.

Long-time London-based with a 25-year career behind them, Stereo MCs remain the proud outsiders of the British dance music scene they always were, and, are all the better for it.

The only unfathomable part of it all is the unanswered question of why they aren’t performing in more sizeable venues to more sizable crowds.

No matter, they’ll always be a Stereo MCs shaped hole in the gig calendar on this evidence.

Who knew you could have so much fun with a man in a woolly hat? Some cover, some book.

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