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Electric Picnic 2011 - Public Enemy

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ATL | 20:05 UK time, Sunday, 4 September 2011

Electric Arena, Saturday 3rd September, 11.00pm

Describe in a Tweet:  Brought the noise, hype was disregarded and we all struggled for power together.

Public Enemy at Electric Picnic 2011 by Carrie Davenport - www.carriedavenport.com


What happened: Usually with bands who've been performing on and off for the good part of a quarter century, there's an expectation that, hmmm, they might just phone it in, collect their big cheque and ride off into the sunset. Or even worse, subject a festival crowd to new, experimental and usually questionable unheard material. Luckily Public Enemy are neither of these bands.

What they are, is incredibly proud of their hip-hop legacy. With roots in the civil rights movement, and sampling everyone from Buffalo Springfield to James Brown on the way, Chuck D, Flava Flav and Terminator X proceeded to give County Laois a history lesson and a showcase of some of the finest music to come out of Black America over the past 25 years.

Chuck D found kinsman-ship with the Irish crowd, dedicating Fight The Power to the 'endless Irish struggle', and drawing comparisons from the English riots. "Don't trust your government", he announced before kicking off the AC/DC mashup Black Is Back.

Flava Flav, at the age of 52, still rocking the novelty clock, proved to be the gunpowder at the end of Chuck D's slow burning touch paper. He was everywhere; riling the crowd, playing a bass solo, climbing the rig, playing a drum solo and finally, after the Dons of hip-hop had rattled through their back catalogue (Can't Truss It, Fight The Power, 911 Is A Joke, Terrordome, Bring The Noise, Don't Believe The Hype), he was talking racism and peace with the crowd.

Public Enemy might have their best years behind them, but if they're able to recreate in the same memorable way their performance at EP, they'll still be a relevant force in hip-hop for years to come.

Swoon: DJ Lord, on the decks, absolutely destroyed Smells Like Teen Spirit with some sick scratching and mixing. Boyeee!

Funeral: A quick set, Chuck D cut short Don't Believe The Hype because he 'had a lot more tunes to get through'. Another half an hour would have been perfect for a group with so many classics.

EP rating: 8.9/10


  • Comment number 1.

    One of many awkward clashes, but what i did see was spectacular, puts dozens of acts this weekend to shame.

  • Comment number 2.

    I know you guys probably do a lot of reviews...but to not get the CURRENT band members correct is bad!

    "...on the way, Chuck D, Flava Flav and Terminator X proceeded to give County Laois a history lesson..."

    Terminator X hasn't been in the group since 1999! That was DJ Lord at the Electric Picnic, get is right!


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