tue 23/07/2024

Wu-Tang Clan, O2 Academy Brixton | reviews, news & interviews

Wu-Tang Clan, O2 Academy Brixton

Wu-Tang Clan, O2 Academy Brixton

Legendary hip hop collective bring the ruckus to south London

Wu-Tang Clan: still going strong after 20 years

Just how loyal is the average hip hop fan? This was the question on many lips after the fiasco that the previous Wu-Tang tour in 2011 turned out to be. Their last sojourn on these shores was marred by members dropping out at the last minute and a general lack of organisation. There was pressure this time for the band to deliver.

Entitled “The Twentieth Anniversary Tour” – it has been two decades since the release of their career-defining debut Enter the Thirty-Six Chambers – there was an air of jubilance at the Brixton Academy as everyone’s favourite warm-up DJ, the ubiquitous DJ Semtex, ran through a by-the-numbers set of populist hip hop jams.

Even the more laconic of the group seemed to feed off the considerable energy in the room

With all the pre-gig talk about how many Wu-Tang Clanners would be stalking the stage this time around, ironically both opening acts, the UK’s Mic Righteous and fast-rising New York sensation Bishop Nehru, suffered from a distinct lack of manpower. Public Enemy’s Flavor Flav has shown more than anyone over the years that for hip hop to translate in a live setting there needs to be a considerable and consistent level of energy throughout. And while both acts gave their all, they were defeated by both the emptiness of the stage around them and the sheer indifference of an impatient crowd. A shame, as both acts warrant attention.

As the Wu’s long-time tour DJ (and invisible backbone) Allah Mathematics played the opening strains to fan-favourite “Bring Da Ruckus”, it became immediately clear that the Wu’s flag was not going to be flying at half mast. De facto leader RZA arrived on stage first to deliver the opening salvos of what turned out to be their best show on these shores in a good few years.

Appearing in packs, the more recognisable and excitable of the clan rushed onstage first: RZA, GZA, and the dynamic duo of Raekwon and Ghostface. There was no time to wonder whether they were making the crowd aware of the hierarchy that has threatened to derail them in the past, as the rest of the group emerged after the intro to deliver further tracks from their historical debut. Wu-Tang Clan were on form last night, and even the more laconic of the group (Masta Killa springs to mind) seemed to feed off the considerable energy in the room.

The customary solo tracks sizzled with extra backing: in particular, an ebullient “Ice Cream” from Raekwon’s superb Only Built for Cuban Linx shone, with Method Man being drowned out by a rabid crowd while the rest of the collective sprayed the audience with champagne. Perhaps aware that their live set list has barely changed in a decade, there were even some rarities from cult favourite The W, although they largely overlooked tracks from their new project “Family Reunion” to concentrate on the hits.

The show was marred slightly by the atrocious sound at the Brixton Academy, rendering some songs dirge-like, but on the whole the Wu-Tang delivered on their promise to bring the ruckus this evening. Here’s to many more landmarks in their remarkable career.

It turned out to be the Wu's best show on these shores in a good few years


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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Loved the energy, but like you say the terrible sound quality held the night back from becoming the glorious mayhem it desperately wanted to be!

totally agree - great show but what'swas u with the sound?

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