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Review: Music

Public Enemy

Public Enemy

O2 ABC, Glasgow

Alan Morrison

In 1987, when Public Enemy first came to Glasgow (along with Eric B & Rakin and LL Cool J), there was no such thing as a Scottish hip-hop scene. Now, 27 years on, it is beginning to stick its head above its underground parapet - and, in the case of Hector Bizerk's support slot for Public Enemy this week, can more than hold its own on the same stage as legends of the genre.

Hector Bizerk's short set was inch-perfect, with rapper Louis's wordplay as fast out of the sprint blocks as anything on the track at Hampden Park (with language to outstrip Usain Bolt too). Live graffiti art and awesome breakdancing added visual spectacle to the music.

Public Enemy hit a deeper groove, driven by the gruff soul timbre of Chuck D's voice. Much has been written about the unlikely yin/yang dynamic between him and sparring partner Flavor Flav, but there is no question the latter lit the party fuse as soon as he appeared at the start of Rebel Without A Pause.

The Security Of The First World entourage does not look as intimidating these days (helpfully borrowing iPhones and making on-stage videos for the crowd is a more avuncular approach than before) but energy bounced through a headline set that peaked with Bring The Noise, Don't Believe The Hype, Fight The Power and He Got Game.

With Terminator X now retired, DJ Lord's flexible fingers commanded the turntables. His scratching solo may have been the hip-hop equivalent of the technically brilliant rock drum solo, but the pace only dragged with Flavor Flav's solo tribute to Michael Jackson. It picked up again before the end of a night during which the past, present and future of hip-hop shared a single transatlantic stage.

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