The opinion heat-haze of In The City means that an unbiased view of a band becomes impossible. As many people will rave over an average, or downright dull band as those who froth over a good one. You quickly realise that listening to opinion at ITC is almost always a waste of time.
For example: I was told that Egyptian Hip Hop were, variously, ‘rude’, ‘piss-poor’, ‘six out of ten’ and ‘a lot of old tits’. I had to see them. And as it turned out – guess what? – they were all wrong. Well, maybe not about the ‘rude’ bit. They weren’t rude as such, but maybe a little easing of the surliness wouldn’t go amiss.
Still, they were more inventive and had a couple of songs that were better than almost all of the showcased bands. Skinnier than heroin addicts, and sporting fringes that started a millimetre above the ear, they ground out one catchy, looping cranky pop song after the other. Wait – let me stress the vastness of their fringes again: one band member was practically 90% fringe – it looked like he had trained a large hairy dog to sit on his head.
The drummer wore a swine-flu face mask. The band swapped instruments for each song. No smiles were cracked at any point. They were so androgynous, they may have been bred in giant petri dishes. Songs like Heavenly were, indeed, ethereal, curious and new, and Rad Pitt (Pun alert!) is a skewed pop delight.
Strange but true: Egyptian Hip Hop are better than anyone wants to admit. Don’t believe the (lack of) hype. Listen here!