Björk, Hammersmith Apollo, London
Method Man and Redman, Shepherds Bush Empire, London

Spirit of a child in the hands of a maverick

There may come a day when Björk Gudmundsdottir sits back, accepts the plaudits, and settles into being a national treasure. But I wouldn't hold your breath.

The truth – instantly emphasised the moment she steps on stage in a pom-pommed headdress and what looks like a giant sweet wrapper – is that Björk is still too mercurial to be a monolith, too interesting to be a diva, too restless to be a legend. It's for the best.

At the age of 42, she retains the mentality of a child in the best possible sense (inquisitive, exploratory, daring), and, viewed in a certain light, her inconsistency is a strength: every few years she'll surprise us by throwing out an album as stunning as Vespertine or Volta (for which this is a promotional tour).

Against a backdrop which seems to echo her musical mix of the twee (flags printed with cutesy fish and frogs) and the ultra-modern (expensive-looking computer screens), and assisted by an ensemble which includes an all-female brass band from Iceland, she plays a Volta-heavy set which takes in some of her biggest hits ("Hyperballad", a floor-shaking "Army of Me"), but nothing from her classic, er, debut, Debut.

The unquestionable high point, however, is when she is joined on "The Dull Flame of Desire" by Antony Hegarty of The Johnsons.

She ends with "Declaration of Independence", the song that controversially contributed to the China crisis when she sang it in Shanghai and chanted "Tibet!". In London she's oddly silent. When she visits Israel, one hopes she'll find her tongue.

Last time I saw Method Man face to face, he told me: "You have to understand the black man is God." A lot of water has flowed under the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge since then. This time, he wants us to buy his new CD. Sitting in a darkened tour bus in Kentish Town in 1993, I listened as the metallic-mouthed Method Man and his colleagues outlined their strange hybrid of black nationalism and Shaolin mysticism.

I'd come across the then-unknown Wu-Tang Clan on a trip to the US and understood that their minimal, cinematic hardcore sound was truly groundbreaking. Before long, we discovered the strengths of the individual Wu members, and everyone had their favourite spin-off. The first to break loose was Method Man with Tical. What we learned about Method Man was that, if you looked past that belligerent growl (nobody goes rrrah!!! quite like Meth), he is, as his name implies, a rhyme technician.

He's also, in start contrast to some of his sidekicks (notably Ol' Dirty Bastard, rest his lazy soul), that rare thing: a rapper who can be bothered to kick it live. Which is why his hook-up with the fast, fluid Redman works so well.

Method Man, aka Johnny Blaze aka The Ticallion Stallion, and Redman aka Reggie Noble aka The Funk Doctor Spock, are a long-running buddy act who even had their own sitcom in 2004. They're here to promote Blackout 2, the long-overdue successor to their 1999 duo album, but there's plenty of time for the rest of their back-cat. Method's theme tune "M.E.T.H.O.D. Man", his solo anthem "Bring the Pain" and the exhilarating "Wu-Tang Clan Ain't Nuthing ta F' Wit", in particular, raise the roof.

They're a mismatched couple in some ways. Method Man is big on bling. Redman, by contrast, wears a sweaty grey hoodie, nerdy shades and a cheap bandanna. What they both have is energy and charisma.

They barely need more than a plank's width of the stage, almost permanently tipping over the white line. Until, that is, Redman attempts a speaker-dive and Method, not to be outdone, attempts his famed crowd walk. The crowd, however, isn't expecting it, and the Wu man falls to the floor. "Pick him up! Pick him up!" orders a concerned Redman on the mic. He needn't have worried. Meth scales the barrier and, with a rrrah!!!, he's back.

Arts and Entertainment
Nick Hewer is to leave The Apprentice after 10 years

TV review Nick Hewer, the man whose eyebrows speak a thousand words, is set to leave The Apprentice

Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says

film George RR Martin owns a cinema in Santa Fe

Arts and Entertainment
Clued up: John Lynch and Gillian Anderson in ‘The Fall’

TV review

Arts and Entertainment
The Baker (James Corden) struggles with Lilla Crawford’s Little Red Riding Hood

film...all the better to bamboozle us
Arts and Entertainment
English: Romantic Landscape

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
Arts and Entertainment

Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites

Arts and Entertainment
Frances O'Connor and James Nesbitt in 'The Missing'

TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations

Arts and Entertainment
Joey Essex will be hitting the slopes for series two of The Jump


Who is taking the plunge?
Arts and Entertainment
Katy Perry as an Ancient Egyptian princess in her latest music video for 'Dark Horse'

Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

Arts and Entertainment
William Pooley from Suffolk is flying out to Free Town, Sierra Leone, to continue working in health centres to fight Ebola after surviving the disease himself

Arts and Entertainment
The Newsroom creator Aaron Sorkin

Arts and Entertainment
Matt Berry (centre), the star of Channel 4 sitcom 'Toast of London'

TVA disappointingly dull denouement
Arts and Entertainment
Tales from the cryptanalyst: Benedict Cumberbatch in 'The Imitation Game'

Arts and Entertainment
Pixie Lott has been voted off Strictly Come Dancing 2014

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

    Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

    As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
    The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

    The Interview movie review

    You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
    Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

    How podcasts became mainstream

    People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

    Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
    Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

    A memorable year for science – if not for mice

    The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
    Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

    Christmas cocktails to make you merry

    Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
    5 best activity trackers

    Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

    Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
    Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

    Paul Scholes column

    It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
    Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

    Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

    2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas