Review of De La Soul live at Nottingham Rock City on 8th June 09.
There ain't no party like a De La party. No-one encapsulates the good time vibes like the magic three; Kelvin Mercer, David Jude Jolicoeur and Vincent Mason, and very few acts, at least in the realm of hip-hop, have released such a list of stone-cold hits. However twenty years on from the release of their debut '3 Feet High And Rising' this back-catalogue seemingly means nothing in our age of the frown, and the venue ends up barely half-full.
Not that this is a problem for those who do fork over the twenty pound entry fee. It simply means there is more room to pull some moves in a venue where even moving is usually problematic, and De La Soul deliver a set that it is impossible to remain still for.
After a warm-up by local DJ and hip-hop mainstay Styly C the triumvirate drop hit after hit, some of which reach back as far as their debut (the seminal 'Me, Myself & I') and its follow up 'De La Soul Is Dead' (set highlight 'A Roller-Skating Jam Named 'Saturdays'') . De La aren't a band for set-list studying however; through tracks unknown to many of the audience and the occasional cover they are more focused with maintaining the atmosphere than playing a crowd-friendly set. That everything they play is met with rapture is a happy coincedence.
De La Soul are still as competent on the beats, scratches and spits as they ever have been, and even to a paltry, yet far from passive, crowd they seem truly appreciative just to be able to spread positivity to a few hundred people, and the end result is as fresh and fun as it was twenty years ago. There ain't no party like a De La party.