|Sage Francis/B Dolan/Clayton Blizzard|
Fleece, Bristol (Wed 15 Sept)
• In the echelons of hip-hop accents, self-proclaimed folk-rapper Clayton Blizzard lands squarely between West Country and Goldie Lookin Chain’s cheeky brogue. That’s perhaps unfair on the Bristolian’s intentions. His social politics-splattered craft is considered, yet mistakes right-thinking obviousness for deep-thinking insight, lyrically lacking the punchlines to back a light-hearted demeanour. Variously referencing KRS-One and Wu-Tang Clan, the likes of ‘New Strings On An Old Guitar’ bleed vim, but end up borderline offensive to anyone who ever felt true affinity with hip-hop.
Suffice to say a rap battle between Mr Blizzard and Sage Francis’s Rhode Island pal-slash-tourmate B Dolan would represent an embarrassingly one-sided spectacle. The evening’s most impressive straight-up rhymer, he’s almost Sage’s doppelganger – slap a pair of sunglasses on the burly, bearded, bald-headed pair and spot the difference. Dolan is similarly interested in rocking the party and dropping science, rewiring M.I.A.’s ‘Paper Planes’ for his own means with sufficient success that half the Fleece are throwing gun finger shapes by its conclusion.
Announcing himself by declaring this the “first date of my last tour”, Sage Francis is a sizeable stage presence in stature and performance. Diving headlong into lovesick sing-along ‘Sea Lion’, he subsequently dusts off ‘Personal Journals’ album cult classics ‘Climb Trees’ and ‘Crack Pipes’ to a rapturous reception. The full band nature of latest LP ‘Li(f)e’ means he’s reluctant to replicate the record with merely a CD player and mic. But we are treated to a “one-off” special demo version of ‘Love The Lie’, the record’s standout tune, originally co-written by late Sparklehorse genius Mark Linkous. Sage doesn’t stay serious too long, gladly, and can’t resist playfully chiding the crowd; mocking beatbox sub-bass noises precede him labelling Bristol dubstep’s “ground zero”. Regardless, despite a semi-reputation for po-faced worthiness, tonight Sage delivers entertainment over everything else. (Adam Anonymous)
Pics copyright Ellen Doherty 2010, www.duchessphotographic.com
Text copyright Adam Anonymous 2010
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