Live Review: Funkoars The Zoo

4 June 2012 | 2:16 pm | Sam Hobson

Overflowing with energy, the outfit’s experience immediately smartens the occasion; flow and style are better stylised, managed and shared amongst the three.

There's a DJ on stage tonight that's been playing long enough that people are beginning to wonder whether he's in fact replaced one of the three acts. Below his freewheeling hands and emphatic throwdowns gathers a smallish crowd, though they're loud and excited more than enough to fill out the atmosphere. Judiciously ironed and oversized clothes seem to be the uniform of the hardcore fans. One guy, his centre of gravity lowered from an extended session of pre-drinks, stalks the pool-tables with all the balance of someone on a ship in rough seas and he's mouthing, to anyone unfortunate enough to catch his eye, House Of Pain's Jump Around. The DJ continues - he even plays some Roots.

In a storm of extreme treble, MCs Mr Hill & Rahjconkas at last kick things off. Jumping about wildly and screaming “Cuz!”, the pair's mics are way too high in the mix, but the flow of whomever's spitting first is mightily impressive. In an eternal game of stage-tennis, they run around on opposite laps like wrestlers bouncing from ring ropes, their delivery nasally, breathless. The treble finally lowers, and beat after solid beat coaxes even the most begrudging heads into an entranced nod. But, though their performance is an impassioned one, it never quite passes through the stage's fourth wall.

K21, next, thankfully bring a completely different intensity. Giving repeat shout-outs to his new album, he launches into a sound that's built upon a droning bass line, his beats nastier, more growling, and his flow insistent and fever-fast. Keeping all things at the lower-end tuned judiciously to brown-note, and screaming his “who's the dirtiest?” mantra, K21 proves he has a great sense of syncopation, his rhymes wisely giving time and recognition to the off-beats. Spasming across the stage, he blares to a close on favourites Fade To Dust and Day In Day Out .

The Funkoars, at long last, literally pounce into the arena, and the crowd goes nuts. That the vocals are shared between three guys gives immediate Beastie Boys vibes, and the mood changes from self-serious to something more resembling a party. Overflowing with energy, the outfit's experience immediately smartens the occasion; flow and style are better stylised, managed and shared amongst the three. Their posturing, thankfully minimal, feels a lot more natural, a lot more earned. The crowd is feverishly engaged; their giddy participation feels more like an offering. The three-headed hydra blabs about time travel and mock that we're in an 'invisible transportation device' taking us back through the annals of their older albums. We get a great range of the band's history, which all swirls and orgasms into crowd favourite, Kidney Shifters. Some bros at the back try their hand at fits of impromptu break-dancing – yep – as the song's porn-swank seethes to its conclusion. The Greatest Hit, with its inimitable chorus follows, before we're treated to some genuinely great a cappella interplay that segues into The Hangover. Never tiring as the crowd themselves grow weary, the band holds their intensity right to the end.

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