Rootes maneouvres

Peter Murphy checks out The Roots

The Roots

Down at the Upstage are The Roots. Now some of us prefer our hip-hop noxious rather than conscious. We like it when it digs dirty blues rather than godly gospel. We get more of a voyeuristic kick out of Stagger Lee than MLK. Having said that, The Roots deliver the goods in such a combative fashion that they could recite Cliff Richard lyrics (not that outlandish an idea – they interpolate The Shadows’ ‘Apache’ into one tune) and make it sound like Chuck D’s not in love. The dual rhythm assault of trap kit and percussion and the insistent Funkadelic riffs add up to a pretty formidable assault on the senses, and if late arrival on stage makes for a frantic line-check and robust mix, it also lends their performance a nervy edge.


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