Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde, L100 Cypher: 24 Kitchen St, Liverpool
Shaun Ponsonby catches Fatlip and Slimkid3 from The Pharcyde playing their enduring hip hop classic at 24 Kitchen St.
Without making this a political review, there is no getting past how despondent many of us felt going into this gig on Friday night. But we knew it the potential to lift our spirits too – just hours after learning that we had handed the keys to Number 10 to a glorified baboon, we were going to take a bizarre ride to The Pharcyde.
This technically isn’t The Pharcyde. The legendary group has split in two, with Bootie Brown and Imani retaining The Pharcyde brand name, and Fatlip and Slimkid3 performing as Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde the name of the group’s classic debut album from 1992.
It’s the latter that we see tonight. The gig was originally intended for the Invisible Wind Factory, but was downscaled to 24 Kitchen St. Though this initially made us nervous, it meant that not only was Kitchen St was packed out, but the show also took place in a much more suitable venue.
The front cover of the original LP sums up the record well enough; The Pharcyde on a rollercoaster. Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde (the album) is as bawdy and silly as anything George Clinton ever put his name to, and just like P. Funk, the street talk speaks a fundamental truth that remains potent and relatable all of these years later.
Ya Mama, for example, is so close to a Funkadelic jam like Take Your Dead Ass Home or Get Off Your Ass and Jam that you have to wonder if The Pharcyde ever broke into Clinton’s dressing room and nicked some lyric sheets.
Fatlip and Slimkid3 perform the material with gusto. There were specific moments where the energy in the room hit another level – the aforementioned Ya Mama, along with Passin’ Me By stood out particularly. It is both the strength of the original album and to their credit as performers that the nearly 30 year old material never feels as old as it is. There is an urgency to their delivery that keeps it all feeling very present.
If Merseyside is the country’s proud pariah on the day of the show, the L100 Cypher could represent outcasts within the city’s cultural landscape. Though appearing on some impressive bills, it isn’t uncommon for their hard work to go unnoticed by many of our self-appointed tastemakers.
Make no mistake, the Cypher’s architect, DJ 2Kind, has in some cases been the sole mentor to this scene, and deserves utmost praise for flying the flag for hip hop in the city. If anyone cares to drop in on any number of the collective on stage tonight, they will find a vibrant scene aching to be discovered.
Other than a scene setting DJ set from No Fakin’, Left-Blank has the hardest job kicking things off. He’s the perfect choice for it, immediately likable – he eases us in before a countless number of locally based MC’s storm the stage. They each take a song; Rosh, Lyricsmith, Prefects, That’s Juvey?
Everyone has a totally distinguishable presence, whether Tony Broke’s dishevelled alter ego, or Jamie Broad‘s all encompassing affability or Mickey Locks’ stoner dude. As the set progressed, and everyone brought it, the following MC brought it more. This probably reached its pinnacle with Felcon, donning a Wirral t-shirt, he seemed to fill the stage with his presence, culminating in an impassioned shout of “Fuck the Tories”.
It remains a mystery how these guys can land gigs like this and still go so far under the radar by the city’s cliques. Because there is something proudly scouse about it. Each of them are true to themselves and telling stories that need to be told.
NB: Planet Slop would like to apologise to Fatlip and Slimkid3 for blithering to them ad nauseam backstage about Dollywood, a subject they had no knowledge of, and in retrospect, probably didn’t care about.
Pictures by Brian Sayle
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