Tuesday, March 18, 2003

Concert Review: The Streets, Monday Mar. 17, Metro

The Streets' Chicago debut invited two questions: How well would the bed-sit hip-hop translate live? Would main Street Mike Skinner look like he sounded, like someone I could beat up? Based on his ongoing difficulty in popping a balloon by stomping on it, I'd say yes, I could take him on in a fight. But he brought along a whole band, so I'd be outnumbered. He was joined by a drummer, bass player, electronics guy (keyboards and whatnot) and another vocalist.

As for the first question, the answer is disappointing. Attending the sold-out show was better for hipster bragging rights than actual entertainment. Skinner name-checked Chicago so many times that he was clearly pandering to the locals. His only non-generic reference to the city was "We Become Heroes," his homage to Chicago house music. The band were clearly having fun, spraying beer and pouring beverages on one another, but such playfulness became even more filler. The show had no momentum. Still, "Let's Push Things Forward" was especially strong for segueing the syncopated beat into a few lines of the Specials' "Ghost Town."

Original Pirate Material is still a great album, but it's shame it wasn't matched by the live performance.

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