Live Review: Mcabre Brothers - Bristol vs London
The return of the Mcabre Brothers has been the biggest comeback of 2019, after releasing the Tell A Friend EP eight years following Gonzo Lyricism which was believed to have been their final project. The excitement intensified when Mcabre Brothers declared the dates of their first ever UK ‘Bring A Friend’ Tour. For a decade, fans had only dreamt of an opportunity to witness Mcabre Brothers perform in the flesh. It was an occasion no-one could afford to miss, demonstrated by the dedicated fans who sold out the tour across nine of the UK’s major cities.
Mcabre Brothers are rap duo consisting of Lee Scott & Milkavelli, two veteran emcees renowned for spreading the world-wide acclaim of UK hip-hop ever since co-founding Blah Records in 2006. The first full length project they featured on together was Tourettes Camp (2006), alongside their north/south, anti-innocuous hip-hop collective called Children Of The Damned. Three years later, Lee & Milkavelli - formerly known as Monster Under The Bed, emerged together as Mcabre Brothers with the release of their self-titled debut, Mcabre Brothers (2009). This led to the creation of two more projects, Merry Crit Mass (2010) and Gonzo Lyricism (2011) before Mcabre Brothers took an eight year hiatus from releasing. It seemed as though the Mcabre Brothers collaboration was all but left in the past, however in early 2019 Mcabre Brothers re-emerged with a brand new EP called Tell A Friend. To mark this celebration, Mcabre Brothers declared their first ever UK ‘Bring A Friend’ tour which would arrive in the nation’s biggest cities, including London, Manchester and Glasgow.
Since the showcase launched in Ipswich on April 24th, the tour has been an epic affair that went from strength to strength. We attended two sold-out Mcabre Brothers shows in Bristol and London, featuring support from Blah affiliates King Grubb, Stinkin Slumrok, Sumgii and more.
The Bristol and London gigs were billed as 7-11PM, however they both ran to about midnight. They hosted the same line-up, featuring the Mcabre Brothers, Stinkin Slumrok and King Grubb. Sumgii, Bisk and Salar were also in attendance, each making onstage appearances. Bristol’s show was hosted at The Attic Bar, which boasts a huge outdoor seating area surrounded by food and drink stalls. Having a pizza and a few pints outdoors before the gig started was refreshing, particularly for those that prefer to chill before the music happens. In contrast, London’s show was set in Hackney’s Old Blue Last which was pretty limited for seating, no food was on offer either. But seating and food obviously weren’t the be-all, end-all. There was plenty of time to settle in and sink a few beers during the show’s intervals - fans could even meet and greet the Mcabre Brothers as they wandered around the venues, freely conversing with the crowds. The Attic Bar took a while to fill before the sets started, as a majority of people were sat enjoying the seating area. At Old Blue Last, the majority of fans were perched by the stage in hope of having a good view for the opener. In terms of setting, because of the space and refreshments The Attic Bar offered, Bristol had the more relaxed vibe leading up to the performances.
Sumgii did a marathon DJing run, performing a two hour warm-up before covering each artists performances at both shows. Sumgii received different reactions which demonstrated the energy of the crowds. Despite less people initially in attendance, Bristol actually reacted better to Sumgii’s warm-up. Fans really communicated for the set, going nuts to certain songs and rowdily reciting hooks which led to Sumgii reloading a couple. London on the other hand wasn’t as hype at this stage, albeit gun-fingers and a few roars of approval at familiar singles, from the likes of Slowthai and Mcabre Brothers. Judging from audience reactions alone, Bristol definitely won the warm-up round.
Following Sumgii’s opener, King Grubb was the first emcee to touch mic on both stages. Performing a 30 minute setlist, Grubb executed anthems from his acclaimed solo album, Droopy. The singles were laced with conscious raps, bluntly infused with weed and food/grub references. Spitting with clarity and precision, he delivered on both sets tremendously and aptly warmed the audiences. Although the soundsystem was slightly overpowering in London, the crowd knew the tunes better and followed each track with loud applause. The excitement surged from the growing anticipation of waiting inside, fans were euphoric to finally hear a rapper onstage. Bristol also received Grubbs performance well, showing appreciation with equally big applause. However, Bristol wasn’t nearly as active during the first set of the evening, so this point goes to London.
Stinkin Slumrok proved his credentials as an exemplary hype man at both showcases, raising the levels exponentially with a no-fucks-given attitude and explicit rap recitals. He had an infectious energy which sent both crowds crazy, performing tracks such as Pipedreems, Madness, Word 2 Wazu and others lifted from his Morrstinkin and Don Pong albums. In London, Slumrok was on home turf and changed up his setlist, joined onstage by longterm friends Nick Blackos and Bisk. This allowed Slumrok to deliver additional singles throughout his performance, including Indacity and exclusives lifted from his upcoming collaboration project with Nick Blackos. Both crowds participated keenly for Slummy, spitting every chorus whilst wyling out and always applauding. It is no secret that Slumrok turns up every live set he jumps on, these times were no different. Between tracks he crowd-surfed, signed shoes, let audiences hold his microphone… the list of onstage antics goes on. Although the sound in Bristol was better, the energy in London was definitely higher. A point goes to both, because neither set was lacking.
The Mcabre Brothers performance was, undoubtedly, the highlight for all fans in attendance. Between London and Bristol, it was an incredibly close call which went down better. Performing the Tell A Friend EP in its entirety, Mcabre Brothers also dropped fan favourites such as Puta, What If Lee Was A Lil Rapper?, Milkavelli’s 10 minute Channel Surfing anthem and more. There were a few golden oldies as well, including Some Cold Shit, L.I.S. & Sly Moon Funk. The onstage chemistry between Lee and Milkavelli was uncanny as they spat back to back, enlivening the crowd with humour and constant crowd participation. In terms of energy, they exhibited masterful showmanship as the hype only progressed throughout both performances. For the majority of the setlist, Bristol went word-for-word and the venue was packed to full capacity. The noise from the soundsystem was clearer and the applause was more enormous throughout. The fans were euphoric, constantly jumping around and making their appreciation heard. The sold-out gig attendance was maxed out up to the finale, it was a phenomenal show of support. London started off strong, the sold-out venue was reflected by the noise as almost everyone in the crowd went crazy. They participated in every rap and singalong, allowing Mcabre Brothers to pause their sets mid-tune multiple times just to allow fans to recite the tracks back to them. London was lively, people at the front bounced about and carried the rappers as they crowdsurfed, meanwhile those at the back moshed like maniacs. When the set reached its duration, a couple people left thinking the gig was over. However the hardcore fans who stayed late witnessed a Mcabre Brothers encore, making it an additionally memorable night. Bristol fans showed a lot of love, but the London crowd went in just a bit harder. Because of this, the final point has to go to London.
For more Mcabre Brothers ‘Bring A Friend Tour’ (Bristol) highlights in pictures, check out the photo gallery below.