Live review: RDGLDGRN, Hector Bizerk at ABC, 11/5/13

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It’s safe to say that when Pharrell Williams digs you enough to hang out and co-produce, The Jimmy Fallon Show come calling after less than a year and a little someone called Dave Grohl stops by to provide drums, you’re onto a good thing.

Multi-ethnic Washington-based alt hip-hop trio RDGLDGRN merge sharp, socially conscious lyrics with live instrumentation and a rare sense of melody.

First up though, Glasgow’s own Hector Bizerk is the perfect choice for support; Louie prowling the stage, hood up, spitting rhymes over limber drums and bass.

He’s not afraid to find rhymes for monetary policy, dropping tracks from the album Drums Rap Yes like ‘Niche’ and encouraging the small but enthusiastic audience to wiggle their asses to ‘Bury the Hatchet’.

‘Police State’ and ‘Party at A&E’ offer a hard-hitting picture of Glasgow life and hint at a more aggressive future direction, before the trio end on a funky ‘Sometimes I Wonder’

On stage Red (guitar), Gold (bass) and Green (vocals) wear shirts and sneakers to match their monikers and colour coordinate their instruments too.

It’s a simple touch, but one that sets the tone for a set which manages to be funky, melodic and, most crucially, bags of fun.

Announcing the trio (augmented by a live drummer introduced as “our black Dave Grohl”) Green bounds across the stage, clad in a Celtic top and hurtles into the danceable go-go rhythm of ‘Bang Bang’.

Their music takes its influence from everything from De La Soul and The Neptunes to Beastie Boys and Bad Brains.

One track makes the claim “this is what The Beatles would sound like if they rapped” and while stylistically only a keen sense of melody links the Fab Four with the multi-coloured three, there’s a hippy-ish spirit that draws from the same source.

Everyone’s welcome and everyone wants to have a good time.

Their Anchorman referencing single ‘I Love Lamp’ is probably the best single released so far this year and deserves to become an inescapable summer jam, while the call and response ‘Girls’ gets fans singing and skanking.

Green is extremely talented, both as a singer and as a rapper, delivering his lyrics with fluidity and ease and trading quips with his bandmates and the crowd.

If closer ‘Million Fans’ is a hint at the trios ambitions it’s fitting that it was recently remixed by Beastie Boys cohort Mario Caldato, a man with a good ear for accessible yet proficient east-coast hip-hop.

It’s impossible to have the blues when you hear RDGLDGRN.

Words: Max Sefton

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