Ultramagnetic MCs @ O2 ABC, Glasgow, 10 July
Two of Glasgow's finest emcees kick things off, Gasp performing choice cuts from his grim and gritty new album A Series of Fortunate Misunderstandings, losing some of their subtlety but none of their intensity live, particularly a snarled, anthemic Rain Town. Loki tears through cuts from Edging God Out with gusto, getting the crowd moving with a blistering Michael Keaton. Both deliver polished, swaggering performances that proclaim the health of the Glasgow scene.
An impromptu display of breakdancing from local crews quickly fills the dancefloor for a set from Bunty and the Mixkings, before Ultramagnetic MCs take the stage. Moe Love, dressed in his custom leather jacket from the cover of Critical Beatdown, and the energetic 'rhyming force Delta,' Ced Gee, warm up the crowd before Kool Keith arrives, head wrapped in a black and gold scarf. Classics begin to flow, and the venue becomes a sweaty, euphoric moshpit.
Give The Drummer Some's frenetic breaks still have the power to stun and amaze, while Ain't It Good To You's devastating scratches and tightly-laced rhymes are greeted with delirium. The audacity of Ultramagnetic MCs' pause-filled, staccato bars proves ageless, much like the physique of Ced Gee. Keith wheels out both Blue Flowers and Poppa Large, untouchable hip-hop classics which are still humbling in their invention, much like Critical Beatdown. The sound is punchy in places, and the carnival atmosphere better suited to a venue with a little more character, but this proves irrelevant – as their DJ tells us, we are in the presence of "the black Beatles of hip-hop." No arguments here. [Bram E.Gieben]