Mr. B the Gentleman Rhymer, Too Many T’s and The Correspondents lit up Ryde venue Coburgs on Friday night, as organisers Galactic Ents once again provided a lively, unpredictable evening in stark contrast to much of the standard festive fare the Isle of Wight had on offer this season.
A sell-out crowd of around 300 people paid between £14 and £16 to enter Coburgs’ hallowed dwelling, and experience a night of hip-hop, electro and drum and bass from a trio of prominent UK acts.
Embellishing those stellar entertainers on the bill were a host of DJs, including the maverick DJ Nipsy and dynamic Tom Headfunk, thus bequeathing ample scope for a lively audience to regain their composure between main sets.
Mr. B The Gentleman Rhymer imparted idiosyncratic, banjo accompanied ‘chap-hop’ with his customary eloquent flair and periodic audience interaction, all whilst parading awe-inspiring facial furniture.
The staccato All Hail the Chap went down a treat and a handful of Christmas songs, including a Reggae interpretation of Band Aid’s increasingly abhorrent Do they Know it’s Christmas? and freestyles from the peanut gallery, were all pleasant enough,
The venue’s acoustics were a mite unstable at times, some diction fizzing beneath the radar due to a lack of clarity from the sound system, although it did little to derail the engaging Mr B, a riveting poet with an appealing USP. His presence ushered the first pronounced spike in decibel levels across a now packed dance floor.
Leon Rhymes and Ross Standaloft, aka Too Many T’s, entered the fray with customary affable candour, and despite suffering again from sporadic doses of muffled modulation, the duo delivered a memorable production.
1992 Pt. II supplied a flavour of old school rap; a kind of amalgamation of The Pharcyde and Beastie Boys with additional pan pipes for good measure.
Butter Rug yielded the apex of their set, extending a snapshot into the youth of the rappers, by recounting them sneaking into sibling bedrooms to play music that their parents might not have approved of, with a welcome reference to the oft’ overlooked Scatman John (a one-hit wonder whose moustache at one time rivalled Mr. B’s.)
There’s a reason why a myriad of festival promoters are so keen to book and re-book Too Many T’s. Consummate pro’s, veering from a generation of hip-hop stereotypes (no Flava Flav indulgence needed to embellish their verbal skills) they were more than happy to mingle with an appreciative fan base post-set.
Headlining the event with customary wanderlust were The Correspondents, sharing tracks from their March, 2014 debut LP Puppets Loosely Strung, as well as hits from previous EP releases.
The undoubted highlight of the night, this was a master stroke of booking from head-promoter Oli Whitehurst, who was keen to dispel any lingering myths created by the salacious, distorted headlines his promotions’ 2013 Christmas gig received via an antiquated section of local media.
A cocktail of pure theatre, unbound melodies and breezy vocals ensured that the one hour set received unadulterated adoration from a now fervent auditorium.
Seminal track Washington Square went down a treat, the irksomely addictive Fear and Delight had starry-eyed spectators going berserk, while a stage dive from the band’s eminently charismatic and sweat sodden front man Ian Bruce went without a hitch.
A notable painter, Bruce is a virtual renaissance who left an indelible impression upon Glastonbury Festival audiences, organisers and fellow musicians during the summer of 2014.
This was a high-stakes triumph of endeavour for Galactic Ents, who were able to attract a trio of top tier talents to the Isle of Wight, perhaps even more notable was the sell-out status of the occasion, with festivities sustained long into the wee hours.
Mr. B The Gentleman Rhymer
Too Many T’s