Jazz Cafe, London
It had been a while since I last saw Edan perform a headline show, which was coincidentally at the Jazz Cafe too. Sandwiched between the two shows came an opening DJ slot for Public Enemy at the Brixton Academy when the MC was on criminally early, but it’s the shows like this when Portnoy is really able to show off his dexterity and he certainly didn’t disappoint this time around.
Proceedings kicked off with a screening of the film that had been made around his Echo Party mixtape with psychedelic colours and animation flitting around old Bollywood imagery culminating in half an hour of explosions for the ears and eyes. As soon as that was over, things really got going with Paten Locke, the hype man for the evening, delivery a short, sharp burst of his own lyrical prowess before the man himself walked down the stairs ready for action.
It would be impossible to put into words just how much fun was had on the night but suffice to say seeing a man rap whilst cutting two records at high speeds, delivering a word-a-man track with Locke and having him distort every last word of various tracks with some microphone manipulation pedals and switches will live long in the memory.
The two men on stage were having fun too – Edan putting on a wig whilst sitting down with a guitar and kazoo and Locke picking up some dainty sticks with which to deliver a few notes on a glockenspiel displayed the entertainment value perfectly. The duo then took turns scratching records in the vein of many great DJ team-ups, always with a smile on their faces before Edan mixed a folk song with rap drums – “Racial harmony right here”. Ladies in the crowd were given bunches of flowers towards the end too, bringing a light-hearted close to the night.
With tracks like Mic Manipulator, I See Colours [complete with chorus sing-a-long], Emcees Smoke Crack and Torture Chamber, Edan had every single person in the venue transfixed with his perfect delivery and old-school flow. When he did his patented showing of the vinyl cover when namechecking bands, Paten Locke dropped one of the sleeves, something which had “never happened before”, with Portnoy feigning anger for a split second before shaking his head and continuing the fun.
There are very few people in hip hop that have the skill of Edan and the stage show he performs is honestly one of the best around. He calls himself the Humble Magnificent and tonight was proof the second part of his name was well and truly on point.