Kat Smith discusses why Palo Santo, the long-awaited sophomore album from Years & Years, deserves five starsWritten by Kat Smith on 19th July 2018
Live Review: The Mouse Outfit
Jonah Corren is impressed by a cohesive and versatile set from hip-hop group The Mouse Outfit, at the Hare and Hounds
Hip-hop production group The Mouse Outfit showed again on Friday night just how diverse and effective they can be. Based on the production skills of Paul ‘Chini’ Hooley, who manned the keyboard, and James Defty, who played bass, the group enlists the talents of a wide range of hip-hop’s finest MCs. Previous live tours have included names such as Sparkz, Truthos Mufasa, and perhaps the name most widely associated with the group, Dr Syntax. This tour however, promoting their new album Jagged Tooth Crook, features three of the group’s other associates: MCs Dubbul O, Ellis Mead and Berry Blacc. On Friday night, they showed that they could put on just as fine a performance as any of the collective’s other counterparts, seamlessly playing off each other’s energy and vocal prowess to create an irresistible and infectious atmosphere, one instantly recognisable as the work of The Mouse Outfit.
“They put on just as fine a performance as any of the collective’s other counterparts, seamlessly playing off each other’s energy
Berry Blacc took centre stage throughout the set, leading the trio from the front with regular and witty interactions with the audience. On one occasion, the MC offered the reward of a free drink for the person in the audience who was ‘giving him the best vibes’; the drink in question was later revealed to be neat whisky in the bottom of a water bottle, which I shared between the other people dancing at the front to avoid becoming more drunk than intended.
Some of the night’s other highlights included the invitation onto the stage of singer Tara, who was described accurately by Berry Blacc as providing ‘angelic’ tones. She added a welcome extra dimension to the set, especially important for the first song the group launched into upon her arrival on stage, Truthos Mufasa and Black Josh’s ‘Sit Back’, given fresh verses by Ellis Meade. The night’s other most recognisable tune came at the very end of the set, ‘Who Gwan Test’, led by the track’s original feature, Dubbul O, and the absence of his counterpart Sparkz more than made up for by verses from both Berry Blacc and Ellis Mead.
“The Mouse Outfit in their new form showed just how versatile and entertaining a group they are
The Mouse Outfit were also supported by Heavy Beat Brass Band. At one point in their set, the band were joined by a figure wearing a cardboard mask over his head and brandishing an electric guitar, introduced as ‘Gorillabot’, who preceded to rap over the band for two songs, one apparently original, and the other Eminem’s classic ‘Lose Yourself’.
Overall, the night was an excellent one, and The Mouse Outfit in their new form showed just how versatile and entertaining a group they are, with the central figures, Chini and Defty, taking little to none of the spotlight, but no doubt still organising and orchestrating from behind the scenes. The group’s new album, Jagged Tooth Crook, is out now, and if a chance to see the group live arises, I recommend that you take it.