It’s midnight on a Friday in Dublin. Outside our chosen venue, Crawdaddy, a canopy shields the huddled smokers from the rain. Inside, it’s a warmer affair as a sold-out crowd await the return of Dan le Sac vs Scroobius Pip by getting sloshed and dancing to Kraftwerk. It’s the Essex duo’s third gig in Dublin in five months despite having only released two official singles on Lex Records and an internet-only Christmas release weeks previous.
It’s 1am by the time Dan le Sac saunters onstage, scruffy and patch-bearded. He makes a beeline for his laptop and the warm-up DJ, Cool C relinquishes command. Poet/rapper/lyricist Scroobius Pip is our compere for the night, dressed in a black suit and tie with an even more impressive beard which stretches past his chin. A suitcase he carries suggests the stage theatrics to come.
Within ten minutes they play recent single ‘The Beat that my Heart Skipped’ and the inebriated crowd sing along to the nonsensical chorus. Scroobius Pip is an engaging performer – part ruminating poet, part cheeky chap. It’s not long before he dips into his box of tricks and pulls out a poster of the periodic table which accompanies the song ‘Development’ and its subsequent name-checking of periodic elements. Later, he sits down at a table on the stage and pulls out laminates of various pop stars including James Blunt and Christina Aguilera, delivering a kind of show-and-tell of dissing modern popstars which morphs into a paean to the late great comedian Tommy Cooper.
Dan le Sac’s accompaniment is ragged and lo-fi yet endearing with chopped-up samples aplenty coilliding with electro beats. Dan leaves the stage for a few minutes to allow Pip to do his spoken word piece ‘Unspoken Word Poetry’ before they drop ‘Thou Shalt Always Kill’ to the delight of the crowd. The excitement is too much for three of the front-row who clamber on-stage and dance around much to amusement of the performers. One member of the invading party mutters something about U2 and gets booed off for his redundant comparison.
With the crowd eating out of their hands, they play a sombre tune called ‘Angles’, a social commentary which Pip chuckles, references “Child suicide, self-harm and revenge murder. Perfect for Friday night then!”. Before ‘Fixed’, a play both musically and lyrically on Dizzee Rascal’s ‘Fix up, Look Sharp’, Pip asks the crowd “Who likes British hip-hop?”. They fall into his trap cheering before he quips “C’mon! It’s bloody rubbish!”
They finish with ‘A Letter from God to Man’, the virally promoted, Radiohead-sampling tune which ends in a cluster of drum and bass beats before returning to knock out a playful cover of Prince’s ‘Cream’.
On the evidence of the night’s performance, the pairing of Scroobius Pip’s perspicacious rhymes and Dan le Sac’s skittering instrumentation makes for a very entertaining stage show. With an album due in April/May, expect the duo to return to Ireland in the coming months to even more rapturous applause.
Dan le Sac vs Scroobius Pip – MySpace