There was some consternation on Wu-Tang-affiliated message boards last week when it was announced that this latest tour – the rap supergroup's first in the UK for three years and supposedly an opportunity to see all of its surviving founding members onstage at once – would be without the services of Method Man, the rapper-turned-actor having been recalled to the US to work on one of CSI's many offshoots. Whether he would have added much to the overpopulated free-for-all going on here is another matter.
At any one point, there were up to 11 people onstage including the DJ, although it seemed the purpose of at least a couple of them was to linger around the wings making up the numbers while far more successful members such as RZA, GZA and Ghostface Killah were afforded the lion's share of mic time. Watching this group was some spectacle, but the sheer weight of numbers and voices before us amounted to something approaching overkill.
Still, the reaction of the mostly young and male crowd to an opening section which included "Protect Ya Neck", "Bring Da Ruckus" and "7th Chamber" was frenzied, and there is something fundamentally primal about the best part of a dozen aggressive New Yorkers barking over each other while the minimal, dubby beat that they've all but patented squeals away in the background. Unfortunately there were resounding low points (the tiresomely misogynist "Ice Cream", the fact that the set was an hour and 15 minutes with no encore bar a bit of half-interested freestyling and a reminder to buy some T-shirts).
A tribute medley to late member Ol' Dirty Bastard, which included "Shimmy Shimmy Ya" and "Got Your Money", was also played out amid the glow of mobile phone screens and lighters, and it was as poignant as a pair of trainers slung over a telephone wire. "We came all the way over here to represent real hip-hop for you," one of the Clan told their "most loudest crowd on this tour", and that's just what they did – for better or for worse.Reuse content