The Streets

11 May 06 words: Dom Henry
Mike Skinner and his entourage were strutting the stage and givin it large recently
Mike Skinner from the Streets, photo by George Marshall
Whip smart one-liners and cheeky saaarf London banter came to Rock City for one night in April, the Streets were in town on their new album tour and Nottingham folk of all sort were out in force. Alas said album The Hardest Way to Make An Easy Living is a less successful departure from their previous tell-it-like-it-is life on the street material, Skinner’s celebrity highs and woes are the order of the day and despite the same heartfelt wit doesn’t have quite the same appeal unless you’re an avid Hello and OK reader. That being said the live show blend of old and new, combined with some admirable and witty showmanship from Mr Skinner and fellow rapper Kelvin wasn’t going to let us down.

The gig opened with some support MC’ing from the Professor Green and friends who did their best to get the swelling crowd into shape. Things properly kicked off with a set from MOBO award winning rapper SWAY, whose original material, and audience-fuelled improv, got the crowd moving finally. When the trademark streets swan lighter finally appeared on stage, after a lengthy break, the place went wild. A few minutes later and the Streets three-piece band appears followed by a Fred Perry and jacket clad Skinner and Mr K to be greeted by whoops and cheers.

The following hour and half of mayhem was a mish mosh of old and new, and while the singing and tunes were good, we got to hear all the major tunes, the real draw for the night was the audience interaction. Mike and Kelvin were on fine form as they swapped remarks, complements and jokes with the ladies and gents, soon getting the whole place singing and bouncing about to their directions.
The Streets @ Rock City, pic by Dom Henry
Mike’s image has changed a lot since 2002, gone are the tracksuits and trainers, enter jeans and jackets, street smart but with finesse, but not smart enough to worry about getting his kit wrecked by some crowd surfing towards the end. Can’t disappoint though, not when you’ve got screaming fans hollering for more and flashing their tits at you, Kelvin returned the complement by stripping down to flash his ripped torso back at the ladies, I expect there would have been a small queue outside their tour bus after that.

The Streets were impressive to behold, and while they may have left the tracky tops and urban streetlife behind them, they’re still sharp, witty and entertaining, let’s hope they stick it out as showmen and don’t succumb to the high life.

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The Streets, Sway & Professor Green played at Rock City on the 3rd May 2006.

The Streets website

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