The Streets Live @ Leeds University
Live Gig Review @ Leeds University 2nd December

It's the end of a dream year for young Mike Skinner and his band. The Streets are scoring high in all end of year polls and their album Original Pirate Material is hotly tipped to be voted best album right across the musical spectrum. It's strange to think that without one incident none of this would probably have happened, The Streets fever spawned from a single a-cappella on a Stanton Warriors mix tape. This was the track Has it come to this? Stanton Warriors were actually the band tipped by the industry to take over but like a sucker fish on a shark it was the Streets who were to prevail. Urban realism - stories of Play-stations, Boy racers, SR Nova's and Geezers - Skinner really does tell it like it is: A needed dose of urban realism with a heart (and a sense of humour) without resorting to Yanky slangs or "Blingy" boasts, all the characters, emotions and tales come to life when delivered in the poetic rant over UK Garage-Reggae-Hip-hop type licks a kind of, Special AKA for the So-Solid generation.

These few dates are (to my knowledge) The Streets first real tour. Following a couple of very successful outing during the festival season (Leeds/Reading) "they knew all the words" gushed Skinner) and an interesting but not amazing appearance on Jools Holland recently.

The Streets Live @ Leeds University @
The Streets Live @ Leeds University  @

So, the night has come….

Support is supplied by Mo Fire Crew who received a mixed reception from the student heavy audience. As soon as The Streets lighter logo appears on the backdrop the crowd goes wild. Two minutes later Mike, rapping partner Kelvin and a faceless three piece band take the stage - to much whooping. The set pretty much sticks to the album format with highlights being the bovver boy- skankin' "Don't mug yourself" the dub driven "Lets push things forward" and the gig is wrapped up with ode to a dance generation "Weak become heroes" as the four to the floor bass drum throbs the response from the crowd ignites and I can't help thinking Leeds just Loves house music.

To please me, The Streets need to put some work into the live shows. The delicate lyrics get lost in the gig environment and the band relies too much on backing tracks. Like a lot of computer based acts conquering the live experience can prove difficult.