It’s rare that you get two groups as hungry as Boss Level Series and This Side Up performing support sets at the one gig. B.L.S easily fill up the stage with their multiple man crew and unleash a ferocious barrage of tracks from the various artists on stage. They set a relentless pace for the next act, one that was easily matched by a two man crew from Sligo, This Side Up. Both acts showed two different sides of Irish hip hop, both as entertaining and skilfully executed as the other.
The energy exerted by the support acts is perhaps slightly deflated with Oddisee’s casual walk onto stage. It’s important to take his aesthetic into consideration though. He seems more obsessed with his craft rather than achieving some unobtainable level of fame. He has made a name for himself with deep and emotional lyrics and a fondness for low key live performances, as highlighted during his excellent NPR Tiny Desk Concert earlier this year.
The addition of his band, Good Company, is really what makes the show. Too often hip hop gigs are let down by a lack of a rapport between the band and the main act, but this was far from the case. Good Company elevate the show to new heights, ones that may be unachievable with the traditional rapper and DJ set up. ‘What’s Going On’ sounds as blissfully serene as always, with the light backing vocals add layers to Oddisee’s insightful verses.
The material from his latest release, the Good Fight, gets an extended run through. The obligatory singalong of ‘That’s Love’ proves to be the highlight of the evening, with the soulful ‘Contradiction’s Maze’ coming in close second. An encore featuring a little snippet of Simon Says by Pharaohe Monch is a sure fire way to end a somewhat laid back set with a massive bang. It’s also a great way to inject some more life into a truly personal and laid back performance.
Oddisee knows how to relate with fans through his music so it’s no wonder that he is such a master at doing so on stage also. He might not get the recognition he necessarily deserves at this point, but he leaves no doubt in the mind of the Sugar Club’s audience that he needs to be at least considered in your list of top 10 rappers. Whether you really agree with that statement or not, Oddisee will continue to honourably fight the Good Fight for true lyricism and real music anyway, and he must be commended for that.