There’s an elephant in the room. Immortal Technique walks out and begins his set by explaining the title of the tour, State Terrorism, “to get it out of the way”. He explains how the worst terrorism we can encounter is the one projected on us by our own state and government. Something like this is to be expected at a Technique show but what follows for the rest of the night are longer rants than songs, some almost verging on Kanye West territory.
Even during these extended soliloquies it is obvious that his sentiment is genuine whether he’s talking about Palestine, the I.R.A or the standards of beauty for women set by the media. His intelligence only heightens his sincerity, as at no point does he come across as patronising or unknowledgeable on any of the subjects he touches on. However, with the constant speeches and chants of things like ‘Tiocfaidh ar la’, he gets the crowd, and maybe himself, riled up to the point where the following songs suffer and feel anti-climatic.
There is still no doubt that Immortal Technique is a true showman and MC. Along with support acts/hype men Hasan Salaam and CF (Constant Flow), he exerts a huge amount of energy and the huge smile on his face throughout make it obvious he’s happy to be there. The power of his voice shines on a microphone and he is never in danger of being over powered by the beat. Even when rapping in Spanish he is easier to understand than most as he spits his words with precision and “from the heart”.
Using music and his position as an artist to spread political awareness, this is exactly what we need in today’s world. However, he needs to find a better balance between being a rapper or a political activist for the sake of his live show. A few songs in, he rhetorically asks, “We’re to have a hip hop show, am I right?” Maybe if he wasn’t preaching as much this question would be redundant and it would feel less like a sermon at times.