Review of Scroobius, Dan Le Sac and Itch Gig, Anson Rooms, Bristol
Bristol is soup tonight. The world’s finest city (TM me) is awash. Lads in saturated parkas skitter from bar to bar. Girls in scant skirts and blowsy blouses bemoan their lack of rainwear and giggle as they go.
“Time you got out of your comfort zone” decrees ye olde ed. “Normally, Steve, we send you to look at men with long beards in check shirts and permafrost frowns. Tonight we need you to go and check out the UK’s finest spoken word acts .”
After several aquatic hours of entertainment and subsea public transport, I arrive at Bristol’s legendary 60,000 square foot shoebox, the Anson Rooms. I’m supposed to be interviewing yer man Itch, ex-lead singer of the King Blues and now fronting his very own good stuff. But he’s not well – I get a text asking for a few extra hours in bed, rather than interview duty. This is a man who toured the US in a wheelchair with a broken leg last year – my guess is that he’s not a hypochondriac.
By the time he comes on, he’s on excellent form. I have to confess, I missed the very first act, Sarah Williams White. This turns out to be a big error on my part – Sarah does a terrific song with the Scroob and the Sac later, and she’s very worth checking out at @swilliamswhite.
Yer man Itch works hard. He works bloody hard. I’m a bit old-fashioned, inasmuch I like to see an entertainer wanting to make his audience work with him. Itch succeeds brilliantly. The University of Bristol crowd may as well have Velcro soles for the first couple of songs. He recognises this and with the track Drugs, he gets down and lively in amongst the Bristol audience. They bloody love it, and his energy is rewarded with a lot of love – for the rest of the set he can’t do a lot wrong. There’s a lot of finger pointing (of the right sort). I have two small issues – the sound is rough throughout, (difficult to appreciate a wordsmith if you can’t hear the tunes) and the (potentially enormous) big big hit Homeless Romantic is played too early, before the audience really know what’s going on. But a great set. And a very unsettling William Hague-a-like crying baby head.
Itch is a rock star in waiting. I loved the observance between the acts. Itch does not overstay his welcome. Rather brilliantly, Scroobius P wears an Itch T-shirt through his gig. Mutual respect is a lovely thing to watch.
So what about the Scroob? I have to confess my lack of knowledge. I remember Thou Shalt not Kill. Ever since I have been ignorant. When Rich asked me to review the gig I had vision of Seasick Steve to a dance beat. But in fact DLS and SP are a lot smarter than that.
For a start, Scroobius Pip and Dan le Sac fight like old ladies on stage. They’re a proper double act – the dance Vic & Bob. DLS resembles Bill Bailey in panda headgear. I know it’s not a pleasant image but stick with me.
Secondly, they drop the bass like you wouldn’t believe. POW! There’s m’lungs. BOOM! My chest is all yours. And the rest…
What I had not realised is what big stars this pair are. Bristol University’s Anson rooms were sold out. The queue at the bar was 20 minutes-chuffing-deep. When they walk out on Stage – Sealegs Steve and Panda Bill Bailey – there’s a wash of warmth across the whole venue. And Scroobius Pip commands the stage. He brings on Sarah Williams White and the mighty Itch and they participate in a wide and lengthy show. It’s a great way to bring the acts together
There’s no letting up for a good hour. It’s an absolutely triumphant set. Thou Shalt Not Kill brings down the house, and so do any one of another 10. Scroobius Pip and Dan le Sac are masters at running the stage .
In the course of my way back, I get saturated, meet an irish musician, meet a german neuroscientist and still have the chance for a last pint at Bristol Temple Meads. It was a fantastic night courtesy of Itch’s PR team and a brilliant night all round. Dan le Sac and Scroobius Pip need to keep bringing in the audiences they do. Sarah Williams White needs to meet even more people. And Itch will continue to be excellent.
Check out Homeless Romantic by Itch
Review by Steve Noble