Live - The Streets In, Not Of, San Francisco





The buzz of Birmingham, England, The Streets, hit the streets of San Francisco last night to great success, but sadly, no Karl Malden sightings. The Mercury Music Prize nominated two-step/hip-hop/ska phenomenon's debut show in the States was a packed affair at the Justice League and the assembled throng left sufficiently pleased with the one-of-a-kind, everyday life-inspired pop-garage onslaught.


The Streets, who expanded from just brainchild Mike Skinner to a quintet live, with live drums and bass, a DJ and a fellow vocalist, played an action packed, but abbreviated set. Working through his debut album, Original Pirate Material, which dropped yesterday on Vice Recordings, Skinner's Brummie accent was thick at times, but the groove of the songs shone brightly through. He even had enough cheek to banter with the crowd about the World Series. "How many of you were watching that World Series?" he asked, to much shouting and hand raising. "So, what team do you support? And what's with that team coming into your home ground and kicking your ass?" I noticed he had no mention of the trifecta of Birmingham football clubs, Aston Villa/Birmingham City/West Bromwich Albion, wallowing near the bottom of the Premier League standings...

The dueling rap interplay between Skinner and his fellow MC worked quite well, but especially on standout song "Don't Mug Yourself." There was a lot of "You're listening to The Streets" and "San Franciscoooooo" blurted out between songs, drawing comparisons to the frequent name-dropping of the US hip-hop culture. By the time the band had worked through the stellar "Let's Push Things Forward," "Too Much Brandy," and "Has It Come To This" the band exited the stage to cacophonous applause and screaming and as we headed out the door, I was preoccupied with two thoughts. First, I was really impressed with how well his music translated live and secondly, I really wanted to kick him in the neck for rubbing the salt into my Giants wound.




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Live - The Streets In, Not Of, San Francisco