Public Enemy

O2 Academy, Leeds on Thursday 31 July 2014

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Bring the Noise! It certainly is loud in here down the front, as DJ Chuck Chillout spins the decks. The surprise addition to the line up, billed as PE 2.0, sees the pioneering hip hop DJ and KISS FM producer play well known hip hops tracks to warm up the crowd. Imagine the songs of Sugar Hill Gang, Tupac, De La Soul, LL Cool J and House Of Pain back to back. There's also a chance for crowd members to have a dance off on a chequered floor on stage. The rap off sees 3 members of the audience take to the stage to show off their free styling skills. The Eminem copy doesn't go down too well, but the final winner is well deserving of his prize of  Monster Bluetooth speaker for his free styling skills.

Previously at Public Enemy gigs we have bumped into a young magician called Dynamo, working back then for Ecko clothing (he still owes me 50p!). Tonight Speak To The Streets, from Leeds, have a stall present. They are a Leeds based youth work organisation getting kids out of gangs using street culture like breakdancing, and have videos on screen to show you their work. Excellent idea. As the MC for chuck Chillout says over and over; "the number one rule in hip hop, One Love."

Public Enemy are a little late on stage as to what they advertise but Chuck Chillout fills in the gap. Then Chuck D takes to the stage on what is the eve of his 54th birthday, followed by The Security of The First World (S1W) and DJ Lord and bassist Brian Hardgroove. 'Miuzi Weighs A Ton' comes first, followed by the awesome 'Get Up Stand Up'. There's no sign of Flava Flav straight away, but he bounds onto the stage during the third song. There's shouts of “Where's your clock?”, to which he replies “Clock. What Clock?” then pulls it out from under his Spiderman T-shirt to a huge cheer, then it's straight into (rather fittingly) 'Rebel Without A Pause'. Flav takes time out to dedicate his entire part of the set to all the casualties in Gaza, the plane deaths, Nigerian kidnap victims, all the worlds current wrongs, which sadly was a long list.

They pull a kid on stage to dance with them, called Jarobi, and nickname him the Media Assassin. Chuck D loves swinging his microphone around like a baseball bat hitting the winning home run. “This ain't no hologram shit. This is the real thing” Chuck states, referring to the spate of recent hologram gigs and rumours (what would Kurt Cobain really think?). The duo of Chuck and Flav is a strong bond, and you can see this energy on stage. They do separate for a while, to let Flav do his own part.

He introduces DJ Lord (Terminator X's replacement since 1998), who does a drop dropping turntable mash and switch of RATM's 'Bulls on Parade'. Flav then does his own personal ode to Michael Jackson, which sadly does not go down too well with the crowd. He clearly misses the King of Pop, as he is wearing a T-shirt with a photo of them both on it. Let the man have his time I say, and hope he doesn't run into Dr Murray one day!

He performs a couple of other solo tracks, namely '31 Flavors' and 'Shake Your Booty'. He's also had a go on the bass guitar, and takes to the drums while Chuck D returns to rap solo to 'You're Gonna Get Yours'. Obviously it's the songs from 'It Takes A Nation Of Millions to Hold Us Back' that get the crowd up and trying to touch the ceiling… 'Bring the Noise', 'Don't Believe The Hype', and 'Fear of  A Black Planet's 'Fight the Power'. An inspiration and still going just as strong after all this time. It's just an utter shame the same crap is still happening in the world that they have to shout about.

Miuzi Weighs a Ton
Get Up Stand Up
Rebel Without a Pause
911 Is a Joke
Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos
Welcome to the Terrordome
Can't Truss It
Hoover Music
Bring the Noise
Fight the Power
Black Is Back
He Got Game
I Shall Not Be Moved
Don't Believe the Hype
Night of the Living Baseheads
DJ Lord Solo
31 Flavors
Michael Jackson
Can't Do Nuttin' for Ya Man
Shake Your Booty
You're Gonna Get Yours
Shut 'Em Down
Harder Than You Think

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article by: Danielle Millea

photos by: Danielle Millea

published: 06/08/2014 12:40