Live Reviews

Mr Lif Live

Cool Calm Pete
93 Feet East

Reading that a label was on Def Jux used to guarantee brilliant out put and a hot live show. Lately however, the label’s releases have been increasingly disappointing, so at least it’s a good sign that they tried something that sounds a little different with Cool Calm Pete. However, as quirky and fun as his album Lost may be, he really needs to work on his live show.

Coming out with his hype man, he let rip through his album’s tracks, the highlight of which was Brush PSA, a little ditty about the values of getting those molars clean, and even threw some sweets out to the crowd but making sure we all promised to brush twice a day if we took some. The problem with Pete was that he didn’t do [italics] anything, he just stood there and rapped. I wanted to see some running about the stage, some more interaction with the crowd, but I didn’t get it. At one point he did say he was going to bust out the b-boy styles, but it turned out to be a joke. Shame really, as it would’ve given his slot some edge, which it sorely missed.

Then Lif came on, hoodied up, shades on, ready to roll. His entrance was excellent, storming on from out of nowhere and ripping the mic apart as he showed his impeccable cadence. But the end of the entrance, he was lying on the floor, and hype man Metro [one half of SA Smash] had to prompt the crowd to lift Lif up off the floor.

The secret to Lif’s live show is the way he’s able to slam his lyrics over the banging beats, which sounded awesome over the sound system in Brick Lane, and it was this that made his classics like Live From The Plantation and Earthcrusher sound so impressive. The crowd got hype and Lif fed from it, discarding his hoodie and replacing the shades with his glasses, getting the crowd’s noise level to blast off the roof at any raise of his hand.

Unfortunately, after the brilliant opening few songs and the ever danceable Illy, an SA Smash song that Metro took the reigns of alone for this performance, the set list went downhill. Whether it was because they were new songs from his upcoming album Mo Mega that no-one knew, or the fact that he placed all the downbeat songs into a group, the crowd just died. There was no dancing, there was little interaction and Lif even pointed it out, without realising that his set list was to blame. He got momentarily back on track with Home Of The Brave and Put Out Your Cut, but the spark was gone.

If the set had finished half way through, I would have been able to say it was a great show, banging crowd, great delivery from the Bostonian and a fun time. But the second half of the set was such a damp squib that I came away from it feeling disappointed, knowing that if only the songs had been ordered differently, and he’d finished on the bangers, the vibe would’ve been a lot more positive.