2014 looks like being a busy year for "Dan & Pip", with a new album to promote and their longest, most extensive tour to date! Already firm festival favourites, they have (since 2008) built a very solid live reputation. With two albums already behind them and their latest release 'Repent Replenish Repeat', they have plenty of material to choose from. Pips spoken word, coupled with Le Sac's beats and loops are an exciting live prospect, evidenced by the fact that most of the tour is sold out. Tonight's Cardiff show is no exception as 900 odd disciples cram themselves into every nook and cranny at Cardiff's Solus.
Beards are much in evidence tonight (perhaps as a tribute to the hirsute Pip?) with a crowd made up of various 20 and 30 something's, we have the Hipsters, the Goths, the Emo's, Hip-Hop fans as well as the curious! Such is their broad appeal. As the lights dim, Dan & Pip bound onto the stage and immediately launch into a brutal and uncompromising 'Stunner'. Cue an eruption of sound, flailing limbs, and shape throwing from their devotees.
Dan & Pip are a formidable partnership. And their affection for one another is apparent as they continually banter between themselves and the crowd. Tales of not wanting to share the same bed at the Travelodge, or ribbing on each other as they fluff a line or intro endears them to their audience. Despite their sometimes dark lyrics and subject matters, they don't take themselves too seriously. They are here first and foremost to entertain, that is not to suggest this detracts from their stories of life, the human condition intertwined with social commentary. If anything, it makes it all more real as the show provides both light and shade.
Pip cuts an impressive figure as he covers every inch of the stage, at one point leaping from the stage into the pit and onto the barrier to lead a mass "sing-along". Meanwhile Le Sac the fine purveyor of beats, also provides vocals and has an unexpected talent for comedy using the interludes between songs to regal tales of being on the road and bantering with the audience. We are not so much at a gig, but hanging out with friends who just happen to be up on stage killing it.
The set list (a mixture of the old and new) strikes the right balance; they judge the crowd perfectly and resist the temptation to indulge by playing a set dominated by the newer material. 'The Beat That My Heart Skips' being rapturously received, 'Angels' providing Pip the chance to flex his diva muscles with several costume changes as he becomes each character within the song. 'Get Better' sees Pip introduce this with the tongue in cheek remark asking the crowd if they do clap, to keep it up throughout the song and not give in half way through .they duly oblige. 'Thou Shalt Always Kill' provides another sing along moment with Pip delivering his sermon from his leather bound book.
The latest offering from their new album suggests an edgier, more realised sound. A truly thundering and epic 'Stiff Upper Lip' where Pip is joined on stage by support act Itch literally takes the roof off proceedings, with bass heavy beats and ferocious lyrics spitted out within an inch of their life. 'You Will See Me' provides another intense, darker moment of the night. You cannot take your eyes off Pip as he delivers this with raw intensity and unflinching intent.
Joyous, yet at times moving .they refuse to be pigeon-holed. Their performances elicit so many emotions, and they (quite rightly) refuse to compromise. Are they 'Just a Band'?.... I think not.