By the time Ghostface Killah takes the stage before a sea of hand-sculpted W signs, The Arches has just about reached boiling point. Already whipped into a frenzy by the slick turntablism of The Technician, some particularly impatient sections of the crowd have been calling out the legendary MC, via tirades of expletives, for around 30 minutes.
Fittingly, when the main attraction bounds into view, he does so while delivering his opening assault from the Wu Tang Clan’s Bring Da Ruckus, followed in quick succession by a segment from solo hit Nutmeg and Raekwon’s female-fixated Ice Cream. This strong opening medley is the last we will see Ghost in full swing for some time tonight – he is soon joined by sometime collaborator and LOX founder Sheek Louch, who brings more presence to the stage, though there’s a dip in energy as tracks are all too often cut short and pauses emerge amid repeated requests for the engineer to cut the smoke and lights.
Frustratingly, poor sound too often obscures the finer points of Sheek and Ghostface’s delivery – a persistent and frequently decisive problem for live hip-hop. There are still moments of joyous uproar – Ghost’s lines on bigger hits are heard clearly, if only due to a well-versed crowd practically taking over.
Ghost's progeny Sun God occasionally joins his father and Sheek on stage, but all three are trumped for gusto by a crowd member invited to fill in Method Man’s lines on Protect Ya Neck – a testament to the enduring influence of the Wu’s first offering to the music world, if not the withering enthusiasum of its makers. [Ronan Martin]
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