Hip hop icons play intimate show...
Public Enemy

A recording studio in leafy Chiswick isn't exactly the most immediate location for a Public Enemy show.

Taking place in the same room in which Amy Winehouse recorded 'Back To Black', tickets began trading for exorbitant sums of money online in the run up to the exclusive show. In the end, though, Public Enemy treated this as they would any other gig - they simply went to town.

Parading in front of the crowd, Chuck D purred: "y'all be paying $7000 a piece for this show... be prepared for some Roosevelt shit!"

Battle hardened by their latest world tour, the group are a formidable unit. Turntablist DJ Lord is joined by a full live band, making Public Enemy's boast to be 'the rap Led Zeppelin' come to literal truth.

Across three exhaustive, exhausting hours the band trawl through their formidable catalogue: 'Bring The Noise', '911 Is A Joke', 'Fight The Power', 'Night Of The Living Baseheads'... they're all here.

Up close and personal, though, what shines through is the force of personality. The interplay between Chuck D and Flavor Flav remains key, like Malcolm X and Bugs Bunny onstage at the same time. Retaining incredible levels of energy, Flavor Flav dons the bass before getting behind the drums for a blues jam - with Chuck D on harmonica. 

Ending with a lengthy rendition of 2007's 'Harder Than You Think' - a surprise hit after its use during the Paralympic Games coverage - the group demonstrate that no matter the location, no matter how small or how big the audience Public Enemy - flanked by the S1Ws - will give their all.

Even after 28 years in the game, the band retain their visceral bite. Radio? Suckers still don't play 'em. But they don't need it - Public Enemy are a world unto themselves.

Photo Credit: Keith Hammond

Buy Clash Magazine
Get Clash on your mobile, for free: iPhone / Android


Follow Clash: