Image by Nick Wesson
Durham’s Empty Shop HQ once again attracted international artistic talent as promoters Seagull & Circle and Frux Tapes welcomed Chicago rapper Serengeti to the venue.
Newcastle rapper Kay Greyson opened the show and soon had the rammed audience hooked with her inspired, relevant and clever lyrics about life. So Tired pricked the ear with the line “I’m coming at’chyo like sneezes”, along with many other cleverly worked poetic rhymes bringing a smile to the crowd, who were nodding together to the well-worked beats thumping through the venue.
The art-rap analog-electro spectacle Outside Your House contributed greatly to the diverse billing. Frontman Tim held up homemade placards to aid the audience’s participation in singing along with phrases from their impressive catalogue of songs. A wonderful set which proved to be a great live insight into some special new material from one of Durham’s most interesting and unique duos.
The multifaceted Chicago rapper Serengeti plugged in an iPod and introduced himself as his real name, Dave. Serengeti’s unique style of storytelling makes for occasionally confusing listening, as the audience attempts to decipher which of the characters from the performance cross from fact to fiction, retaining a constant yet welcome sense of unease and interest to the set. Delivered via a mixture of rap, random shouts and sporadic raw melodies over backing tracks which utilise retro infused synths amidst TR808-esque drum patterns, sampled loops, old skool scratching and melodic sampled instruments, he provides a mash up of multi-genre entertainment.
Any preconceptions as to how this rap show was to be delivered soon had the audience shifting expectations. Each song would be ended abruptly by Serengeti, as if he was just demoing ideas and tunes to a room full of friends. In addition to this, his brother Elliott would occasionally come onto the stage and start air drumming, dancing, boxing and emphatically mouthing key lyrical phrases. This all culminated in a unique, dynamic and fun live show experience.