Giant Panda’s Newman set the night off with a couple of funky jams before Maanumental hopped down the stairs at the Jazz Café and bounded on stage as they broke into Super Fly rapping that “and you don’t quit having fun and if nothing else its just to see you having fun and enjoy yourself”. There was no chance of that not happening as the two rappers danced their way around stage, beaming smiles and dance routines aplenty.
Running through their stand out tracks from their album Fly School Reunion, the two men loaded the crowd with feel good tunes and untold head nods, as tracks such as 90s, Grand Prix [complete with running man dance steps], With It and sing-a-long favourite TKO, flew by. They even plied us with a new track which was as bassy as the venue was packed and is a great taster for what is to come from the group. With missing member Chikaramanga making his presence felt with a little message played on vinyl, Giant Panda cemented themselves as a brilliant live act.
Standing by the stage after the Giant Panda set, I thought that this would be another case of the support upstaging the main act, but, as good as GP were, Thes One and Double K brought their A game and blew every single person in the crowd away. Starting off with the already-classic Pass The 40 from new album Stepfather, both rappers got ready for the rest of the evening. The big-framed Double K bopped around in front of the crowd whilst Thes One sweated out every last ounce of energy by jumping, bouncing and thrashing through every track.
The crowd weren’t just treated to songs either, with Double K throwing in a deep beatbox whilst Thes freestyled, bringing the crowd’s noise to an unbearable crescendo which only got louder when Double K rapped whilst scratching on the decks and Thes One played the MPC with his face. The duo really knew what it meant to put on a good show and so the fun didn’t stop there. With tracks like Acid Raindrops, San Francisco Knights and The LA Song sounding even better live than they do on record, it was fun all the way.
But the best part of their set was the return of Giant Panda to the stage. Thes One expended so much energy that he dropped onto his back on stage and Double K implored the audience to get him back to his feet, as Newman and Maanumental waved the towel of Thes’ face to try and revive him. When Hang Loose dropped, Thes was revived and jumped to his feet whilst the GP boys invited girls on the stage and turned the entire place into a jumping frenzy.
If you weren’t there, you lose sucker.