DizzeeRascal descended on the BBC’s Electric Proms with a band,horns and string section in tow. It was his first full length live band showand proved to be an impressive mlange of styles and genres, inkeeping with the huge variety of influences on his music.
24-year-old Dylan Mills won theMercury in 2003 for his debut album Boy In Da Corner. Since thenhe has released three further albums, been nominated for the Mercuryagain and worked with Armand Van Helden and CalvinHarris. His trio of number ones over the summer – Holiday, Bonkers andDance Wiv Me, feature on his latest album Tongue N’ Cheek, released lastmonth.
We were warned by the announcer beforehand that”Dizzee will be his normal hard-hitting self”, and despite trying not toswear, conscious of the fact that he was being broadcast on television,he wasn’t always successful.
Also, despite the much-hyped inclusion ofthe Heritage Orchestra, they didn’t make their appearance until a fewsongs in, after his customary introduction of Jus’ A Rascal, which onthis occasion featured a riff from The Strokes track Reptilia.
Indeed, given how heavily the use of these disparate elements weretrailed in the promotion of the gig, you might have expected to haveheard more of them. (Quite literally, during a great flamenco-styleversion of Holiday – the strings struggled to be heard at all). It was ashame, because the arrangements by Jules Buckley were very effective.
There was a particularly sweet moment when Dizzee sang – of all things -Happy Talk, a song originally from the 1949 Rodgers and Hammersteinmusical South Pacific. It was unexpected, and very well done, which issomething of a hallmark of Electric Proms performances.
The acoustic version of Dirtee Cash, a cover of a track by TheAdventures Of Stevie V, was another highlight. He sang it incollaboration with Vula, a female member of the choir who was greatthroughout the evening, and will hopefully go on to do great thingsherself. She contributed to Dizzee’s latest album, along with Hal Ritsonof the Young Punx, who could be found playing a variety of instrumentson the night as well as occasionally conducting the orchestra. Thistrack was previewed during the band’s stint on Radio 1′s Live Loungelast month, along with the introduction to another which got the crowdbouncing: the mash-up of Stand Up Look Sharp with Nirvana‘s Smells Like TeenSpirit.
Brinsley Forde from Aswad entered from stage right to performa cheerfully ’80s ska version of Can’t Tek No More, whilst in someof the subsequent songs the bass was ratcheted up to such an extent that itfelt like a scene from Jurassic Park, with the rumblingthroughout the Roundhouse being more than enough to herald anapproaching T-Rex.
The country-tinged version of Bonkers was inspired, withthe song kicking off with a bluesy guitar sound. Dizzee even let out a”yee haw!” at the end, for good measure. The band continued their triparound the world with a version of Brand New Day that hailed from theFar East – Kate Capshaw‘s version of Anything Goes fromIndiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom sprang to mind.
Whilst there were undoubtedly some great moments to the evening, theoverall tone was uneven, with his cover of Bulls On Parade by RageAgainst The Machine sitting uneasily against songs earlier in theset. But given that this was his first live performance with a fullband, this evening will hopefully lead to greater things. He’s live,large and in charge, after all.