Michael Halpin Journalism


Gig Review: Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip @ Academy 2, Manchester – Sunday January 19


Scroobius Pip had been ill for the last 12 days before Sunday’s gig. Had he not mentioned it, you would never have known.

The passion, fire and sheer belief in what he and Dan Le Sac do was evident throughout Sunday evening’s performance.  The subject matter within their work is often dark, heavy and introspective; however, this was in complete contrast to their onstage chat, which was often hilarious at Academy 2.  Dan Le sac is a genuinely funny man and the impression was given that these two are loving being on tour again and genuinely enjoying each other's company.

Opening with Stunner from current album Repent, Replenish, Repeat, Scroobius Pip beckoned their audience forward: “How you doing Manchester? You alright? Move forward! Get nice and close. It’s sold out!”

Resplendent in a Smiths t-shirt (not Morrissey and company but Will Smith and his family) Scroobius Pip spat out Stunner with poise, conviction, ardour and a sense of control that was impossible not to admire.

The Beat That My Heart Skipped from debut album Angels followed.  Lines like, ‘yeah, but what’s their demographic?’ describe Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip perfectly.  There is not any good reason for categorising their music or finding a pigeonhole in which to place them.  Granted there are huge hip-hop and dance elements to their work but scratch beneath the surface and you can hear pop, rock and ska, which highlights the futility in trying to align them with any one specific demographic.  On Sunday night Manchester just celebrated the fact that they exist at all.

Look for the Woman’s infectious chorus created a sing-along early in the set and must have left more than just me wondering whether Scroobius Pip had another half when he wrote those lyrics?  If he did, he is one of the bravest men in Britain!

Things got heavy on both Terminal and AngelsAngels subject matter deals with the murder of a security guard and the ‘eye-for-an-eye’ philosophy, while Terminal deals with the incurable illness of a friend.  It was during these two numbers that Scroobius Pip showed what an engaging performer he is.  He does not move much but the sincerity in his words shines through - transfixing the audience with the stories tells.

Gold Teeth and Get Better lifted the mood, the latter receiving a huge ovation from the audience and being something of a clarion call in support of Britain’s youth.

You Will See Me was again compelling and in a sense psychotic.  The rant appears to exorcise certain demons for Scroobius Pip as he reads the lyrics aloud from a notebook that looks as though it is a tomb of modern poetry that constantly travels with him.

Thou Shalt Always Kill again came from the notebook and as it throbbed with popular culture references the audience seemed to share in the absurdity of media saturated 21st century living.

Introdiction and A Letter From God To Man provided the encore and a huge ovation was given to Scroobius Pip before he left the stage allowing Dan Le Sac his moment in the spotlight.  A frantic and euphoric mini DJ set followed, the highlight being The Prodigy’s Voodoo People which for a moment left the majority of the audience forgetting it was a Sunday night.

For much of the set the subject matter was heavy but the overall mood was far from serious.  In fact, the juxtaposition was such that it created a slightly schizophrenic feeling at times.  It may well be possible that this is why Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip strike such a clear chord with their audience.  Scroobius Pip is blessed with a gift and ability to articulate emotions in a way that the majority of us would find impossible to do publicly.  The pay off however, and this is something to be thankful for, is that he seems to be kept sane by the ability to laugh at life whilst onstage with his equally talented and genuinely amusing counterpart Dan Le Sac.


Gig Preview: Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip @ Academy 2, Manchester – Sunday January 19th 2014


For Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip, 2014 essentially begins in Manchester with the first date of their UK and European tour taking place at Academy 2 later this month.

Promoting last years Repent, Replenish, Repeat album the Essex hip-hop duo are set to tour what is arguably their heaviest work do date.

Following the release of The Logic of Chance in 2010, Repent, Replenish, Repeat holds heavier beats, darker subject matter and an overall aura of somebody slightly wounded by life. Scroobius Pip’s words sound bitter, angry and suffocated, as though something hugely distressing has occurred somewhere along the line.

Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip first came to prominence in late 2006 when XFM London’s John Kennedy played their demo of Thou Shalt Always Kill on his Xposure show within two hours of receiving it. Within a matter of weeks, the track had become Single of the Week on Zane Lowe’s BBC Radio1 Evening Session and Single of The Week in the NME.

With an eclectic set of influences including Gil Scott-Heron, Joy Division, Kraftwerk, Devendra Banhart, The Beta Band and Mogwai, Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip followed up Thou Shalt Always Kill with tracks The Beat That My Heart Skipped and A Letter From God To Man. The latter featuring a sample from Radiohead’s Planet Telex.

Their debut album Angels, released to high acclaim in May 2008, reached number 31 in the UK album charts while their second album The Logic of Chance followed two years later after which both members took a break in order to work on solo projects.

Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip reunited to work on Repent, Replenish, Repeat, which, upon its release, debuted at number 22 in the UK album charts, their highest chart position to date. Lead single from the album, You Will See Me, is undoubtedly one of the most powerful pieces of work they have released, while the accompanying video is, like much of their work, completely engaging and compelling.

Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip are playing at Academy 2, Manchester on Sunday January 19 2014