Review: The Mouse Outfit @ Brixton Jamm (London; Thursday 24th May 2018)

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On Thursday 24th May, Manchester-based hip-hop group The Mouse Outfit played a thoroughly enjoyable set in the simple pub venue Brixton Jamm.

The first thing you notice about The Mouse Outfit is their charm; the talented all-male rap group and live band share a lot of love and banter throughout the show. The band is impressive: three rapper-singers, bass, guitar, keyboard, synths, and a drummer who sings and has an electronic drum pad. The group is calmly dressed in t-shirts and jeans, some wearing caps.

There’s a large round of applause when the rappers Berry Blacc, Ellis Meade and Dubbul O enter the stage. They respond with heavy charisma, full smiles and Mancunian charm throughout. The three rappers flow well together and range from rapping to singing in line with each other, making quips at ‘the system’. The band accompanies them, playing smooth grooves behind the vocalists, sometimes growing the grooves into intense movements in line with the lyrics. The crowd bop back and forth as the band explode behind the vocals.

Even when the band cools down, the vocals keep on driving and holding the energy, the band kicking in at just the right times to give the group and audience members a boost. At times their cut-up poetry brings focus to the instrumentalists grooving. The keys create gorgeous changes, adding new feels and nostalgia to the music as the band fit in, making it feel like that was the place for them to go to.

The rappers interact heavily with the audience between songs, engaging in eye contact as well. The band have a great and beautiful energy; they sing as well as picking good music within the songs. The crowd respond, holding up their arms and cheering at energetic moments, dancing strongly at others. Most of the lyrics hold philosophical or political value and the music is always interesting and entertaining. They even drop a bit of A Tribe Called Quest‘s ‘Electric Relaxation’ after playing their single ‘Sit Back’. The event feels like a truly shared experience between the audience and band, facilitated by the audience.

 

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