Slowdown Sounds continue their incredible residency at the Mint Club with another stellar show. Sam Bennet was there to report back. Sad you missed it? Don’t miss out on Big Daddy Kane.
DJ Format’s reputation is well deserved, both on the live circuit and in the recording world. His first two studio albums (2003’s Music For The Mature B-Boy and 2005’s If You Can’t Join ‘Em…Beat ‘Em) are often regarded as some of the best hip-hop work to come out of that decade, and tonight’s show at Mint Club in Leeds is part of a tour from the Southampton DJ and frequent collaborator on both aforementioned LPs Abdominal, a talented MC from Toronto.
Supporting is Flame Griller, consisting of JND, ExP and Addverse. The West Yorkshire trio are excellent live performers; I saw their set at the recent Mix Master Mike gig and was extremely impressed. They also have two quality albums, including the recently released Flame Griller II, and their authentic, unique image and vibe coexists with fantastic sonics. With DJ Versatile on the decks, they open with Super Fly. The group’s jazzy production and consistently intricate, smooth flows impress from the offset. The subtle beats and the down-to-earth content is evident on Where We Live; one of the most impressive features of Flame Griller is the eclectic combination of tones and writing styles. The crowd provide backing vocals unprompted on I’ll Say, and the up-tempo silky piano laced instrumental backs tightly delivered, first class MC-ing. Their professionalism, both in terms of stage show and song writing is excellent. The three MCs trade off each other with effortless skill on Kinelligent, and Addverse’s percussive delivery is very much on point. They drop Wuntathought, one of my favourite Flame Griller tracks before closing their set on Grillingham.
Kicking off their first show in Leeds in over a decade with Ill Culinary Behaviour, Abdominal’s lively delivery has the entirety of Mint vibing with the legendary duo. DJ Format’s scratches and cuts add to the dynamic and energy that Abdominal brings on the mic. The Canadian MC is a killer with the syllables on the up-tempo selection on Format’s turntables tonight; his rapid fire flow and melodic delivery are a fantastic combination. His content is entertaining and his writing intelligent too. As Format drops The Hit Song, it’s clear that the crowd are one with every track he drops; they haven’t stopped moving since the start. The energy level is kept a constant high with a well-structured show, and the relentlessly up-tempo set continues with the new track We Say. The witty Ugly Brothers is a highlight, and Abdominal’s astonishing breath control on Vicious Battle Raps is a masterclass in live delivery and real MC-ing. The duo drop another new track, the second of the night, and their music still has the personality and charisma that has made the duo so long-lasting. Donning Burger King crowns, DJ Format and Abdominal rip Fast Food, from the A Right Earful mixtape, the wealth of hits in the catalogue is astounding.
DJ Format and Abdominal deliver one of the most impressive, energetic and entertaining shows I’ve seen for a long time. They are so clearly professionals at what they do, and both masters in their craft. If you ever get the chance to see them, do NOT miss it.