Moon Club | 01.11.12
Tonight’s support act, the soul-rap outfit Neon, achieve what every opening act hopes for; the applause they enter with being polite, and that they leave behind being rapturous. Over a honed half-hour set, they stir the crowd into a frenzy, some classic slap-bass building an old-school backing for poignant, socially-aware rap verses and blistering female vocals. Diminutive singer Ruby dominates the crammed attic room with her notes, which deliver in power twofold what they lack in range, and gives generous solo performances on seemingly every track. That this doesn’t seem gratuitous is testament to Neon’s sway over their audience, and they leave the stage with everyone wanting more. We are not left wanting for long.
There is no haughty and frustrating delay between support and headline, Lazy Habits know a hungry crowd when they see one, and the seven-piece promptly march onstage to meet them, suited and booted. The tie-clips won’t fool any fans present; they know this is to be a more visceral affair. Sure enough, the sway of the trumpet riff is soon being strewn with breakneck rhymes and scattered steel drums. The crowd holler themselves hoarse to singles The Road, Even Out, and Starting Fires. At one point, the Ska overtones that have been present all evening erupt into a glorious, immersive cover of The Specials’ A Message to You (Rudy). Throughout we’re aware that this isn’t a rap band that picked up a few jazz records and called themselves ‘influenced’; they’re as polished as they look, versed and rehearsed in the School of Satchmo. They end on a ten-minute improvised slot, bringing up guest MCs from the audience to fill the gap normally occupied by pals Dizraeli and The Small Gods, and seemingly loving it as much as their fans, a select group of clued-in devotees. If you liked Plan B’s second album but fancied something sharper, Lazy Habits have more brass and beats than you’ll know what to do with, and a live show not to be forgotten.