Chase & Status’ mixture of aggressive beats and influences from hip hop and reggae has enthralled audiences across the UK. The duo have gained a following that has rocketed them away from the genre’s underground into arenas around the country. Fresh from the release of the Brand New Machine album last month, how would the Chase & Status live show translate to this arena environment?
The evening begins with a short and simplistic but effective set from female soul singer Moko to a growing crowd, responding well to some of her more EDM-influenced offerings. Next is American rapper and Kanye West collaborator Pusha T the weakest of this evening’s support acts. However, he manages to get the crowd bouncing to some tracks from Kanye’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and his new release My Name Is My Name. A step up is final support act Netsky, persuading the crowd to make enough noise for the night’s headliners to hear backstage and generating sufficient excitement for his brand of liquid funk to suggest that the Belgian producer is not exclusively thriving off the headliners’ glory.
With a slower-paced introduction to what recent Chase & Status festival audiences may be used to, curtain falls for Gun Metal Grey and International, making the appearance of the fast-paced beats of live favourite No Problem all the more welcome. Featuring on-stage returns of Moko and Pusha T, the Cardiff crowd are provided with a stunning display of smoke, on-screen visuals and hype from the incredibly charismatic MC Rage never fails to keep the crowd moving. An overabundance of new material threatens a loss of momentum surprisingly early in the set, but stronger moments showcase modern drum and bass at its very best. Highlights involving everything from early tracks such as Pieces and Smash TV to new singles Count On Me and Lost & Not Found, the thrillingly effective outweighs the slightly mediocre. Coming on to a finale of Rage Against the Machine covers Killing in the Name and Fool Yourself, this is likely to be one of the liveliest crowds the Motorpoint Arena will see in a while. If this is the transition they have made from their second to third album, God only knows what they will achieve by album number 4…