Arrested Development, DAYZY: 24 Kitchen St, Liverpool
90s Hip Hop pioneers and double Grammy award winners Arrested Development showed they’ve still got it with a fabulous set at 24 Kitchen Street.
I hadn’t planned to see Arrested Development but I got a last minute invite and couldn’t turn it down. So on a pleasant Tuesday evening in April, I headed into Liverpool with my camera in hand for what I thought would be a night of retro 90s hip hop.
Instead I was treated to an up to date set dominated by their 2021 album, For the FKN Love. Of course their classic 90s tracks Mr Wendal and People Everyday also featured, much to the delight of their older fans and still sounding as relevant as ever. Interspersed with their own tracks, they dropped in the occasional rendition of Jump by fellow Altlantans Kris Kross and got the room bouncing.
And it was a room that wasn’t just full of fans. The event was being hosted jointly with Liverpool Against Racism and Liverpool’s No Fakin’ to celebrate 25 years of their promotion of hip hop and the fight for equality. As part of this the Mayor of Liverpool, Jo Anderson – the UK’s first black woman to be a directly elected Mayor, not the old, white ‘Joe’ Anderson bloke who was ignominiously ejected from public office – was present and was witnessed strutting their stuff. This little factoid was not lost on Arrested Development’s Fareedah and April, who seemed both surprised and pleased that a predominantly white city could elect a black woman as Mayor.
This political awareness is only to be expected though as Arrested Development are more than just a hip hop band. Like Parliament-Funkadelic, or Soul II Soul, they are as much a movement as a band. Formed in Atlanta in 1992 they provided a positive antidote to the gangsta rap that dominated the genre at that time with a conscious and progressive message and an eclectic sound deep rooted in blues, funk, soul and African influence.
This positivity flowed from the stage and infected the audience. Despite their political history and revolutionary statements, they are just as much a party band – and it feels like the balance has tipped more towards this side of their persona.
After the performance ended the band headed off to Frederik’s to sample some Liverpool hospitality. There they were persuaded to perform in an impromptu jamming session; much to the delight of the other patrons. A sign they are truly a band of the people.
Support was provided by laid back hip hop singer Dayzy with musical backing from local legend DJ 2Kind. Though considerably darker in tone than the hopeful and idealistic headliners, the jazz influences of his music made him a perfect way to ease into the evening. Scouse hip hop is maturing.