Patrick Widdess reports on Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip – The Junction, Cambridge, 15 March 2010

Artist Visiting Cambridgeshire

Three years ago I was browsing a friend’s Myspace page when their profile tune launched with a dirty electronic beat followed by lyrics listing commandments; some funny, some serious, others just plain silly. It was one of those rare tunes that instantly makes you want to shout from the rooftops how good it is. It was Thou Shalt Always Kill by performance poet Scroobius Pip with Dan Le Sac adding the beats. Unsigned at the time, the duo were already creating a buzz which has been growing ever since.
They took to the stage at The Junction on the day their second album The Logic of Chance was released, a two-man power house of performance poetry, rap and electronica. Dan Le Sac was first to take up position at a table of electrical gadgets and as the sharp rap, rap, rap intro of The Beat That My Heart Skipped rang out the crowd began to heave and the show was in full swing when Scroobius Pip entered spitting the lyrics and sharing the mic with an audience all too eager to participate. Next came the opener to The Logic of Chance, Sick Tonight; a messy assault of broken beats and rapid-fire rap. That was followed by the more somber Magician’s Assistant; a harrowing piece that explores the impact of a central character’s suicide on each of her loved ones. The mood was rather lost as Le Sac brought in a deep house beat which got some of the crowd moving like they were in Ibiza - to a song about depression and suicide.
The set moved regularly between the new and old albums. Great material was strongly delivered with impeccable showmanship. “There’s been a lot of politics going on,” proclaimed Pip introducing new song, Stake a Claim. He moved along the front row shaking hands in a parody of politicians in between chanting the refrain “I will not move, I will not change, I will not bend or play their games, I will stand tall with a full frame, I will take pride I will stake a claim.” In the title track from the first album Angles he donned a succession of ties, hats and glasses to represent the characters in the tale, a subtle tribute to one of  his heros, comic legend Tommy Cooper. There is nothing comic in the lyrics, however, which tell the story of a boy who commits suicide and his brother who takes violent revenge on the man who drove him to it. The duo acted appalled at members of the audience they suspected of not appreciating the gravitas of the performance. Two songs about suicide could not lower the spirit of the audience when the bulk of the set was upbeat and life-affirming from two artists at the top of their game.
The Logic of Change is a strong second album sure to cement their reputation as one of the UK’s premier acts. None of the tracks, though, quite reach the level of three standout tracks from the first album: Set opener The Beat That My Heart Skipped, Thou Shalt Always Kill which came towards the end and Letter from God to Man which was the rousing finale. As Pip left the stage Le Sac mashed the beats and Thom Yorke’s wailing vocals sampled from Planet Telex in a jaw dropping close to a monumental set by the charismatic, godlike-geniuses Dan Le Sac and Scroobius... no... wait. They’re just a band, but a jolly good one!

Writer: Patrick Widdess