Our thoughts on Doc Brown's long-awaited return to live music following his successful career in comedic rapping. He's joined by Mikill Pane, The Last Skeptik and Kevin Mark Trail in Liverpool's 24 Kitchen Street.
Last updated: 28th Mar 2017. Originally published: 27th Mar 2017
Better known for his career in comedy, what most don't know about Doc Brown is that on his long list of talents, rap and hip hop comes first and foremost. Following an eight-year hiatus from music - which consisted of successful comedy tours and acting gigs - Brown returns to the rap game with brand new material.
He brought his music to a small but buzzing audience at Liverpool's 24 Kitchen Street as part of his UK tour, promoting his upcoming album, Stemma.
Having collaborated with the likes of Ed Sheeran, initiating the night was Hackney hip hop artist Mikill Pane - accompanied by The Last Skeptikon the decks. Given his notoriety in the British scene, his presence alone was enough to whet the appetite of spectators, yet his perfected poetry is an added bonus.
Audience participation is a hit-and-miss risk, especially within such an intimate setting - but knowing how to please his Liverpudlian audience, Pane's reference to the most hated paper in the city in his, "When I say Fuck The, you say Sun" chant went down a treat.
If his politically charged and social justice themed bars hadn't already won the crowd over, this certainly tipped the scale. Although supposed to be a warm-up act for the headliner, Pane's spoken word style rap did more than that. His unique style of British hip hop set the bar for what proved to be a night of great music for rap fans alike.
After Pane had perfectly set the tone, Brown then followed and continued the evening's upward trajectory. What lacked in crowd capacity, Brown made up for in his energetic and passionate performance as he bounced on stage and looked genuinely excited to be sharing his sound with the humble audience.
A revisit back to his rapping debut in a performance of his single that sampled Gary Jules' 'Mad World' separated the fans who had been there from the start to those who were new to his rap skills. After a brief but heartfelt dedication to his previous collaborator Amy Winehouse, in which her single 'Love is Losing Game' rang throughout the venue, Brown plunged straight back into his own material.
On the run up to this tour, although adamant there would be no comedic elements in his music, it seems that Doc can't resist crossing over to his other talents, as humorous lyrics have grins and smirks left on the faces of those quick enough to catch the witty lyricisms. Songs like 'FFS' talk frankly about the things in daily life that frustrate him - such as his daughter having nits - and are undeniably funny, his animation during the deliverance of the lyrics only added to the laughter.
His offspring are also central to one of the night's best moments, when Brown shares a poem he wrote to his daughters about gender equality. An air of respect was mutually shared between spectators as they applauded and commended the positive use of his platform; something we wholeheartedly commend when set off against the clear disregard for the attitudes usually preached within a somewhat misogynistic genre of music.
Completing his set, Brown introduced the first single off of his upcoming album, and as The Last Skeptik played out the recognisable intro from 'Corruptible', the swarm of fans lapped up and echoed the words Brown spat perfectly bar to bar. Rich and soulful vocals from Kevin Mark Trail in the song's bridge were jaw-dropping, and contrasted the aggressive nature of Brown's recital of lyrics in a complimentary way.
Judging by the roar of applause that signalled the end of the show, the rapper's return to rap music was met with a warm welcome of open arms. No more eight-year holidays please Doc...