On arrival at the Students’ Union, I’m greeted by the sight of tonight’s headliner’s Dan Le Sac and Scroobius Pip manning their own merch stand. I would guess that it’s partly born out of necessity, but I admire the personal touch; it is nice to see a hip-hop act who genuinely put the effort in to meeting their fans (and not just the pretty ones).

By this time I’ve already missed the first support act, Sarah Williams White. The second act, Itch is already underway. I am a little surprised that Itch’s tunes are as upbeat sounding and lyrically positive as they are, all I had previously heard of him were his rather riotous lyrics on the DLSvsSP song ‘Stiff Upper Lip’. That, and also because he looks a bit intimidating.

It transpires that a sold out Academy 2 is the first date on this tour, and that most of the songs on the latest album Repent Replenish Repeat haven’t been played live yet. The set opens with the first track of that album, ‘Stunner’. It’s a good start.

It’s really nice when a band who use backing tracks make a few changes to their tunes before taking them on the road, and there are a few tweaks to the tunes tonight. It’s also great to see Dan playing beats live on a drum machine. Although there are one or two tiny slips in there, the extra level that the live performance brings is well worth it.

 Although there are obvious little differences in the music, it is mostly really hard to distinguish Pip’s performances from those on their recordings – it is really impressive to witness his technical skills first-hand, and more impressive is that he seems to match those lyrical performances with genuine emotional investment, seeming to show genuine anger and real passion in his delivery. Along with this comes a good side helping of inter-song comedy banter from Dan and Pip, which again contributes to the whole experience being one that feels comfortable, familiar and genuinely personal.

It’s interesting to see how new bands are making use of technology in unexpected ways – a number of the song choices tonight are determined by hit counts on video streaming websites – and this throws up a lot of tunes which aren’t bangers, but which showcase the more narrative and less beat-driven side of DLSvsSP’s repertoire – which are some of the most unique tunes, and the ones with the most personality.

‘Porter’, my favourite song from Repent Replenish Repeat fits into this category. Unfortunately, tonight it’s the one song in the set which falls anything short of absolutely top notch. It seems a little slow, and almost stutters at times. It’s still a wicked song though, and I am glad they played it.

In mixing in a bunch of slower tunes with some real lively, danceable ones, there’s a great variety in the music tonight. It’s one of my favourite qualities in a band; like life, truly good music can’t be homogeneous. The audience here also reflects that diversity – there are all walks, ages and styles – although I’d say there are a majority of guys – and lots and lots of  beards. Maybe this is Hipster-hop. I can’t really let the topic of beards go without airing my own beard envy for Pip, who looks like a bear is hibernating on his chin.

The songs from previous albums Angles and The Logic of Chance are well-chosen. There is a great mix of positivity and cajoling in the song ‘Get Better’: “The system might fail you, but don’t fail yourself”. The song ‘Angles’ features the simple-but-effective device of costume changes to differentiate between the four characters portrayed in it. Well, I say “costume changes”; I mean “hat changes”. It works really well.

As the show nears its close, and Pip buggers of for more schmoozing downstairs, the final song is an instrumental with beats reminiscent of the Prodigy. In fact, turns out it’s a totally awesome cover of Voodoo People.

There’s a part of me that thinks that there is no place in the music industry for DLSvsSP to become a successful band – but that’s not true for two reasons: firstly (I imagine) because they see success in self-betterment, education, entertainment and the satisfaction of making sick tunes – by which measure they already are successful – and secondly because success comes through finding a connection with many individuals, and these two guys have a genuine ability both on- and off-stage to connect with people.

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Chris Oliver

I've been playing bass guitar and guitar for over half my life. I last played bass in in a band called Electromotive and as a singer-songwriter I have written songs about cheese and vajazzles (separate songs!). I started out listening to 60s, 70s and 80s rock as a kid and I was in to grunge and U.S. punk and ska in the 90s. Since then, I've broadened my tastes and I like the best of all styles of music, even country. I've been writing for Silent Radio since it started.