Grandmaster Flash at Epic Studios

I reviewed this show for Livewire1350, so the original postage is at: http://livewire1350.com/grandmaster-flash-at-epic-studios-gig-review/

This is not a show. This is a party. This is how Grandmaster Flash introduces his set, and what a party it was. Grandmaster Flash can easily be attributed with the honour of creating hip hop as we know it today. Not only was he the mastermind behind the incredible record ‘The Message’, his group Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five were the first hip hop/rap artists to be introduced to the Rock and Roll hall of fame. He is currently playing DJ sets up and down the country, providing the crowd with an education in music.

This was the first time I had seen Epic Studios in its full set-up, and it was sure needed. A massive crowd lead on to a great atmosphere, yet there was, thankfully, still enough room for everyone to dance. The age range was mostly 30+, so we were easily the youngest there. This however didn’t matter whatsoever and everyone had a great time dancing away.

The crowd could already feel this party vibe after the vinyl dominated DJ sets from Chrome and DJ Format. Chrome did feel more like a filler act sadly, but the fact that his whole set was filled with scratching vinyl was a refreshing change to the ever so common laptop DJ. The same goes for DJ Format, whose set was jam-packed with funk, soul and hints of jazz which warmed up the already excitable crowd.

When the time came for the legend to take stage, he went straight in with Phil Collins ‘In the Air Tonight’ and just as everyone was getting into it, he cut the music. He had to set straight something straight. England was the party capital of the world in his books, so he needed us to understand three rules. Rule 1: When Grandmaster Flash says to put your hands up, you put your hands up. Rule 2: When he says to make some noise, you make some noise. And finally, Rule 3: When he is on the decks and playing some music you know the words to, then you better be singing along. The Grandmaster was going to take us back to the year that the party was the best, the dancing was the best, but most of all the music. 1975.

Grandmaster Flash raced through the classics, from rock to rap, AC/DC to Sugarhill Gang. He even managed to mix The Verve’s ‘Bittersweet Symphony’ with ‘Fix Up, Look Sharp’ by Dizzee Rascal, which is impressive by any standard. Highlights were definitely ‘Play that Funky Music’ by Wild Cherry, Cypress Hill’s ‘Insane in the Brain’. He finished off with Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five’s ‘White Lines’, to the delight of the crowd.

All in all it was fun night, and an impressive stamina for a man nearing 60. It was slightly disappointing to see he used his laptop for a lot of the mixing but he did still have vinyl connected to, so he could still scratch. However, you soon forgot about this and just enjoyed the great music and skill with which he mixed. If you’re up for a boogie and don’t mind the rather expensive price tag, then definitely head down to one of his shows. His next shows are at the O2 academies in Liverpool and Oxford.

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