Hip-Hop emcee/humanitarian Immortal Technique was playing in Manchester the same night Public Enemy was due to tear up Bristol. Even though I’d seen the latter twice before already, I would’ve willingly took the journey to Bristol to see Chuck and co. again. I decided to commit to IT, though, seen as though his mind-blowing Revolutionary Vol. 1 dropped back in 2001 and I had yet to see him live.I knew this was gonna be a good night and would not disappoint.
The warm-up set was powerful enough, with deep-voiced Swave Sevah (from Tech’s crew) breaking down in tears during a tribute rap to his murdered brother. IT then came on with a black bag over his head around the 9.30 mark and everyone started going nuts.
‘The Point Of No Return’, the deliberately-offensive ‘Obnoxious’ and the chilling true story of ‘Dance With The Devil’ were some of the song highlights. As was Tech’s various tributes to the northern part of the country (“Real artists don’t just come to London and leave!”), which quickly got the people on his side.
The whole place was packed; and the standing area, in particular, wasn’t short on passionate and energetic Hip-Hop heads. At one point in the show Tech’ and Swave even had to tell a couple of lads near the front to calm down it down a bit. Though no violence broke out — as it apparently did at the last show in Birmingham — the crowd got really worked up throughout the set (and I was by no means any less enthusiastic).
Playing for a good hour, the delivery of Tech’s lyrics was razor sharp; and not only did the reality of his words justice, but also proved just how bloody good he is as a live emcee. Everyone was jumping; the place was buzzing.
There was an cracking beat-juggling set from DJ Static at mid-point; and just before the lights came on, a mad few minutes of everyone just “wilding out”. There was plenty of entertainment on the night; and IT even stuck around for a couple of hours afterwards to sign autographs and mingle with the fans.
“It’s up to every one of you (us) to be the revolution,” IT said at some point in his set, before speaking out against religious extremists and calling for British soldiers in Afghanistan to come home. The man’s fire, honesty and intellect reached out to many; and the Academy sound team should be commended for giving IT a solid platform to do his thing on the night.
(more pics here)