Live Review: Mikill Pane and Rizzle Kicks

Elaine Zhao 21 November 2012

Mikill Pane and Rizzle Kicks

Cambridge Corn Exchange – 20th Nov 2012

Mikill Pane showed tonight that, although obviously a talented rapper, he still manages to hold down that effortlessly edgy London style of a fresh-off-the-streets artist that has not yet been molded by corporate media.

With the lighthearted, catchy tone of his raps, he appears to be the definition of “chilled out” – one of those laid-back guys who emanate a casual confidence because you can just tell they don’t take anything too seriously. This might be reflected a bit too much on stage however in his offhand comments between songs, which may have been interpreted as either highly offensive to the dozens of parents supervising their children (as the majority of the audience was surprisingly young) – or alternatively hilarious.

Between renditions, he would drop comments like “if you’re not dancing, you’d better be disabled” or suggest parents to take their child outside “for a cigarette or a drink at the bar” to protect them from hearing the profanities of his music.

Although perhaps he lacked the polish of a more experienced stage performer, his accented jokes along with the thick-rimmed glasses and casual beanie gave him a sense of authentic raw charm. He skillfully varied the pace of his performance from lively and energetic (coaxing the audience to join in with songs) to enjoyably relaxed and comfortable, with Summer In The City as a particularly catchy highlight.

Following straight after was Rizzle Kicks, which to the delight of their 12-16 year old demographic, had a much more significant stage presence in terms of energy and visual entertainment.

The duo balanced each other well in terms of physical performance, with one always playing an instrument or dancing as the other sung or encouraged the audience to join in. There was a prolific amount of audience interaction egged on by Jordan Stevens (the rapper half of Rizzle Kicks) which I personally found grew a little tiring probably due to being over age 16, but obviously pleased the screaming masses of preteen girls present. A particular highlight was “The Traveller’s Chant”, where Harley Alexander-Sule (the singer half) exemplified his melodic and soothing voice – which contrasted nicely with Jordan’s energetic rapping.

However, the duo had their band to thank immensely as the instrumental section played a huge part in enhancing the performance – Rizzle Kicks sounded decent when performing a capella, but as soon as the trumpets and drums etc. joined in, their effect was instantly magnified.

Although sometimes Rizzle Kicks lacked musical skill in terms of vocal precision, it was overall a very entertaining gig as their upbeat, catchy songs provided lots of movement, dancing and audience participation.

Elaine Zhao