mon 15/07/2019

Rizzle Kicks, The Dome, Brighton | reviews, news & interviews

Rizzle Kicks, The Dome, Brighton

Rizzle Kicks, The Dome, Brighton

Brighton duo nail cheerily winning homecoming gig

Rizzle Kicks' Jordan Stevens stays still for quarter of a secondPhotos © Lydia Perrysmith

So, Rizzle Kicks, teenybop pop-hop, right? So what we’re going to get is a bunch of over-excited tweens fobbed off with pre-recorded backing tracks, a bit of choreographed dancing and maybe some balloons? Certainly the support acts, Josh Osho and Mikill Pane, while passably entertaining, adhered to a minimal set-up and plenty of basic hype man call’n’response, but Rizzle Kicks didn’t. In fact, they firmly booted pre-conceptions into touch.

The duo of Jordan Stevens and Harley Alexander-Sule are Brighton’s own, via the Brit School, and it’s clear there are many of their peers here as well as older locals proud of their success. The front of the stalls, then, is swarming with screaming teenagers, but there’s a much broader age range throughout the venue as a whole. Rizzle Kicks have a proper band, including a trumpet player, something they constantly revel in, whipping up snippets of famous tunes, such the “James Bond Theme”, between their own songs - indeed, they arrive onstage to the deathlessly niggling theme to Inspector Gadget.

rizzleRizzle Kicks’ sound is not the synthesized auto-tune dubstep-tinted pop that Radio One plays to death. Instead, their vibe is more organic, like a ska band dosed with the punch of Brighton’s effervescent old big beat scene. They emanate teenage good cheer, bouncing around like sweary CBeebies presenters, Alexander-Sule in Hawaiian shirt, shorts and baseball cap, and Stevens in a hoodie, white tee and jeans, both often pogoing about on raised platforms at either end of the stage. They joyfulness is contagious, it doesn't appear in the least forced, just energized, and they exude guileless goofy charm with none of hip hop's po-faced machismo or tedious lothario sex chat that so many insist on bringing to the party.

rizzle2The pair hammer though singles “Dreamers” and “When I was a Youngster” with Alexander-Sule singing the first verse of the latter with his tee-shirt pulled over his face, then he grabs a guitar and they run through their remix of their pal Ed Sheeran’s “You Need Me, I Don’t Need You”. Just when it was all going so well, they insist on having the crowd do the “Oggi, oggi, oggi – Oi! Oi! Oi!” chant. I've always loathed this so much it almost brings me out in hives. Fortunately they don’t push the repulsive interlude anywhere (although the kids vociferously enjoy it) and soon it’s forgotten as they attack the good-natured jangle-strummer “Miss Cigarette”. Stevens cannot resist trying to flick-whip his partner with a rolled up towel, his face full of goon-ish mischief. By the time they’ve had a Latino dancing interlude and even vaguely recalled Madness with the charming “Even on a Rainy Day”, dedicated to the endless April rainstorms, they're ready to raise the temperature with the very danceable Fatboy Slim-written “Mama do the Hump”, during which one of their mothers appears on stage for a quick boogie, just like in the song's video.

They return, clad in Rizzle Kicks tee-shirts, for an encore featuring the ebullient “Stop The Chatter”, then closing with the cartoon Balearic brass-fest “Down with the Trumpets”. By this time bras are starting to rain down upon them and Jordan wears one on his head. Some have telephone numbers written in them. At the back a lady of about fifty is grooving just as hard as, I’d guess, her progeny are up at the front. With big grins Rizzle Kicks leave the stage, having delivered a fun evening for all ages, tinted with cheek and an unaffected wholesomeness. Rather than dismissing them as teenybop kids’ drivel, festival-goers this summer would be wise to seek them out and enjoy a slice of their primary-coloured hip hop pop party.

Watch the video for "Mama do the Hump"

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