Live at O2 Academy Leeds on Monday, 17th October 2011
Bass-driven, breakbeat-Brits, Chase & Status brought their mammoth, dance-rock spectacular to a cosy O2 Academy on a chilly Monday night. The show was part of the "No More Idols Tour", as the duo seek to exhaust a majority of the album tracks up and down the country. Never before have I seen such a lively, nonsensical crowd, at any venue, on any day. It was like the centre of a hornet's nest, thriving with hyperactive, copycat activity. Chase & Status seem to have an autocratic, unified grip on this country's live circuit, be it festival or club night. At times thrilling, at others quaint, they really know how to whip up a deadly infusion of Dubstep and Drum & Bass.
Recurrent, tribal percussion signified the expected opener of "No Problem". A large, high-vis screen was lit-up by a lilac, voodoo-themed figure. The ghoul uttered mysterious words just before the song burst into a pandemonium of incalculably-energetic components. A firecracker to start the show, a bazooka of high-tempo music. The crowd now intensely-rapt by the bombarding, hailstorm of electronica jumped high from the floor. MC Rage (the man mentally-addicted to saying "Chase and f**king status") placed a foot upon a speaker and encouraged madness among the stalls. The large "C" and "S" shapes to the left and right of the stage were the centre of attention as they boldly, beamed white light across the venue.
They began loosely with Drum & Bass so it was only fair they delved into the obtuse, unorthodox, dungeon of dubstep. The genre, confused, victimized and scrutinized, is somewhat difficult to listen to from record. However, when placed among a seething mass of unhinged, asinine, foolhardy lunatics, it seems rather appropriate. "Eastern Jam" fitted the bill perfectly, splicing vocals from Indian musical "Devdas", smashing it together with gluttonous, inevitably-virile, bass-ebullience.
The duo let their Rock influences shine through in "Fire Your Eyes" as Chase whipped out an electric guitar. "Maverick Sabre" provided vocals for this track, understandably not in person. Another collaborator who didn't make an appearance was Tempa T, as they unleashed "Hypest Hype" on the crowd. Not much talent involved with this track, but Chase & Status's talent is to entertain the crowd, which they never fail to do, start to finish, show to show.
Switching the electric for acoustic, Chase played the first spine-chilling notes of "End Credits". The crowd quickly consolidated themselves into a choir, reciting each word passionately. Ben Drew (a.k.a Plan B) appeared on the screen behind a red and blue RAF symbol as the frantic-clapping and cheers grew louder. It appears obvious that the more heartfelt, meaningful songs of Chase & Status are the crowd's favourites. The drummer has to be commended on the sound and timing of the thumping snare throughout. High-pitched vocals layered over the original vocals brought a rapturous end to proceedings.
Still with the acoustic guitar, Chase slinked his hand over the body of the guitar for the intro to "Flashing Lights". Another expected absentee Takura, supplemented lead-vocals. A carefully, rather more surprising Dubstep drop hit like whiplash as siren-sounds glared as though the fire-alarm had been set off. "Hocus Pocus" was definitely better live then on record, as the jittery percussion dragged people into rapacious-pools on the dancefloor. The main problem with this track is the spoken words before and after each drop, makes it stoop to the level of those pathetic "Where's my money" style atrocities you see splattered all over YouTube.
"Brixton Briefcase": euphoric, brilliant, powerful. Dubstep and Drum & Bass in good balance, behold bold yet interesting vocals, unruffled with no subtlety, Chase & Status at their best. "Smash TV", put the academy in a containment sphere of barefaced, intrepid Drumstep and an incredible amalgamation of genres. The crowd were dauntless on all accounts; wild and hysteric from front to back. "Pieces" is an exemplar of how Chase & Status can turn a track on its head. Starts harmless and heart-rending, gets ugly, and suddenly the crowd is violently laying into each other. Though I'm sure they pleased many by playing the track from debut album "More Than Alot".
As a green light descended from the stage the first silvery, whistling keys of "Let You Go" ringed out. Even Mali did not appear tonight, much to my surprise. The chorus, not to my surprise, was met with sweat-drenched fans vaulting off the floor. To give the physically-drained fans a rest they played "Midnight Caller", an arm-swayer amongst a setlist of high-energy hits. Delilah graced the stage with mic in hand as they began their Nneka cover of "Heartbeat". Chase on electric-guitar was a mastery. Head-banging, metal-tinged punches of distortion was a great contrast to Delilah's sweet tone. "Time", the single that was released this April was met with a million copycat singers. The keys, the drumbeat, the underlying bassline all interweaved nicely, another rapturous affair.
When it all seemed over, Chase & Status, who worked furiously on the decks for most of the night, returned for an encore. "Fool Yourself", a cataclysmic end to a huge 17-song set sent the crowd home happy... and hurt. MC Rage organised a wall of death that was by no means casual. Literally from the front to the back, involving near-enough everyone seemed a suitably foolish way to end the night. "We stand together, we rave together" was the final message from Rage as both Chase & Status bowed to screams, waves and the unmistakable jeering of "Yorkshire, Yorkshire, Yorkshire...".