Ugly Duckling

By Demented Toddler

Support at this Monday night gig came from the uninventive, over-rehearsed Speech Defect, who have certainly mastered the MC chorus thing that Jurassic 5 reminded everyone was a good idea a while back, and wear funny hats. Listening to them, it seemed as though every old school and party hip hop cliché had been fed into Babe Fish, turned Swedish, and then back into English again. Something seemed to have been lost in translation. Pigeonjohn, who followed them, probably wasn't breaking down any barriers either (except perhaps for monotesticular MCs), nor was he lyrically astounding, but with charisma and enthusiasm by the bucketload, and a Biz Markie hat, he woke the crowd up. Stylistically, he hopped nimbly between impressions of the old school greats, interspersed with ODB-isms and bursts into song. 'My naaame is Pigeeeeoonn Jooooohhnneeeeee' he crooned, relishing the fact that 'all the girls who used to diss me / now they want to kiss me!' His craziness was infectious, and soon hands were waving from left to right, there was some jumping, and Ugly Duckling were left with a ready-warmed audience.

The headliners were on fine form, proving to be at least as much fun in person as they are on their records. Andycat, Dizzy Dustin and Einstein came on dressed as 'MeatShake' employees, opening the act with a rendition of the very silly theme for their fictional fast food franchise – 'For Pete's sake – get a MeatShake', one of the most memorable selections from Cut Chemist and Shadow's product placement. The whole show had something of the flavour of a cartoon frat party, with Andy and Dustin coming across like a hip hop Ackroyd and Belushi (which would make Einstein DJ Qualls, I suppose) – at one point interrupting the show for a 'drink the MeatShake' challenge which might have gone down better if everyone had been like, totally wasted on funnels and beer bongs. Despite the fact that it was a Monday night, there was a restaurant upstairs and not a babe auction, the party atmosphere worked extremely well, with tracks like Everybody C'mon', Pick Up Line, Mr Tough Guy and Friday Night going down a treat.

Without question though, the highlight of the evening was the group's tribute to its amazing DJ, the fantastic Eye On The Gold Chain. This started life as Einstein's Takin Off from the Fresh Mode album 'When young Einstein was a kid with a bib / he had some 1200s inside his crib' and metamorphosed on Journey To Anywhere into a dig at the genius' dookie neckwear: 'When young Einstein was a kid in the mid / eighties, he saw how the b-boys lived / they wore the fat gold to rock the rap song / Einstein's takin off / now he's putting it on…' The crowd was mainly composed of fans rather than tourists, and there was palpable glee at the arrival of the Ducklings' 'security' (Pigeonjohn again) with a briefcase containing the sacred item. The blindingly blinging chain more than lives up to its international reputation: 'He wore the dookie when we met Queen Elizabeth / asked her was she jealous? / she said: 'a little bit!'' The night was wrapped up nicely, if predictably with Everything's Alright, the refrain: 'If the end is near, then send it here'.
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