Too casual to take the limelight


WE WERE body-searched on arrival at London's Hammersmith Apollo on Friday, which, I suppose, only added to the atmosphere. This was a Warren G concert, after all, and Warren G (no relation to Kenny) specialises in everyday stories of Longbeach, California folk: carjackings, drive- by shootings, running in the 'hood with Snoop Doggy Dogg. It would be odd to get through the evening without at least one gun battle.

Except that tonight's audience would be more likely to carry water pistols. The only person I saw who was safely beyond school age was ex-Queen guitarist Brian May, and he was there with his children. There were no screams of pain tonight, just the type of screams which greet Janet Jackson, or Brian from East 17.

But we had a while to wait before the star arrived. First came support acts Adina Howard and the Whitehead Brothers. Then Warren's band eased into a laidback groove. After that we had two other rappers, The Twins, followed by three more, the Five Foota Crew.

Finally, Warren loped onstage with a basketball player's easy grace. He was every bit as casual as his shrugging, conversational style of rapping suggests. If you hadn't heard the multi-million-selling, Brit-nominated, Regulate...G Funk Era (Island) you'd think he was making it up as he went along.

He was so casual, in fact, that he frequently stood back like a lanky big brother and let the Five Footas and the Twins take over. Before Regulate... made him one of the biggest names in contemporary hip-hop (if it's possible for "G" to be a big name) he was a producer and DJ, so maybe he prefers to be behind the scenes.

But if he didn't work hard, the audience did. I lost count of the times we were asked to "put our Oedipussing hands together and make some Oedipussing noise", or words to that effect, and how often we were asked: "What's happening, London?" I mean, how do you respond to that question? Then we were instructed to beg Warren not to quit, before he declared: "Damn right I ain't gonna quit!" I should hope not, Warren. You've only been on stage for 40 minutes. And 10 minutes later, damn right he did quit.

It was generous of him to share the limelight with so many others, but it was him the crowd paid to see, and he should have aimed his generosity at them.

In "Twilight World", the lead vocalist of The One sings: "Last time I saw her she was just about ready to audition for a George Romero movie." Well, look who's talking. It's Peter Perrett, formerly of the Only Ones, the New Wave band who have all the more kudos for being so obscure (comedians Sean Hughes and Mark Lamarr are among those in tonight's crowd). Perrett has spent the past decade or so working on other projects, most of them pharmaceutical and illegal, so on Thursday at London's Splash Club, he doesn't look healthy enough to get a part in Dawn of the Dead.

Imagine Richard O'Brien in a heavy metal wig. Somewhere in the folds of his red pyjama suit is a nervy, twiglike figure with an equally unhealthy creaking Dalek voice. If it's not monotone, it's stereotone at most. The sound of Perrett and the rest of The One (guitar/bass/drums/ inaudible keyboard) borders on punk, glam, and gothic rock, but resembles more than anything a subdued, minimalist Only Ones. Perrett croaks songs about "when I was kidnapped by aliens", and when he prowls through the audience, drawling, "You have been assaulted with a deadly weapon," everyone is afraid to get too close, just in case his mental state is anywhere near his physical one.

It is in a word, baffling, although that could be because The One play only two songs that anyone has heard before: "Twilight World", from last year's Cultured Palate EP (Dwarf), and the only Only Ones hit, "Another Girl, Another Planet". You have to wonder how they'll fare, because at the moment they would seem as commercial as edible socks.

Seeing Carmel at the Jazz Cafe on Wednesday was not a thrilling prospect. The Northern jazz-pop combo are popular in France, apparently, but according to the stereotype that's like being a top comedian in Germany; they're filed alongside Sade, but were never as successful; and they're as Eighties as shoulder pads, Mexican beer and Margaret Thatcher.

Sure enough, they tended to be a little too smooth, and even had some of those electronic drum pads that go "pyoo pyoo". Singer Carmel McCourt was sometimes flat - although there was a piquant contrast between the sour regret of her voice and the even flow of the music - and she didn't make any friends by warning that their songs might have been too profound.

But just as they produced gasps from the audience when "Imagine" emerged from some fluttering ethnic rhythms, warmth and humour eventually emerged from the frostiness and helped make an agreeable show. Every now and then a bottle of Sol goes down well, too.

Arts and Entertainment
Attenborough with the primates
tvWhy BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Arts and Entertainment
Drake continues to tease ahead of the release of his new album
Arts and Entertainment
Former Communards frontman Jimmy Somerville
Arts and Entertainment
Secrets of JK Rowling's Harry Potter workings have been revealed in a new bibliography
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade
radio The popular DJ is leaving for 'family and new adventures'
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman and David Tennant star in 'Broadchurch'

TVViewers predict what will happen to Miller and Hardy
Arts and Entertainment
Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright in season two of the series

Watch the new House of Cards series three trailer

Arts and Entertainment
An extract from the sequel to Fight Club

Arts and Entertainment
David Tennant, Eve Myles and Olivia Colman in Broadchurch series two

TV Review
Arts and Entertainment
Old dogs are still learning in 'New Tricks'

Arts and Entertainment
'Tonight we honour Hollywood’s best and whitest – sorry, brightest' - and other Neil Patrick Harris Oscars jokes

Oscars 2015It was the first time Barney has compered the Academy Awards

Arts and Entertainment
Patricia Arquette making her acceptance speech for winning Best Actress Award

Oscars 2015 From Meryl Streep whooping Patricia Arquette's equality speech to Chris Pine in tears

Arts and Entertainment

Oscars 2015 Mexican filmmaker uses speech to urge 'respect' for immigrants

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscar nominations are due to be announced today

Oscars 2015 Bringing you all the news from the 87th Academy Awards

Arts and Entertainment
Lloyd-Hughes takes the leading role as Ralph Whelan in Channel 4's epic new 10-part drama, Indian Summers

TV Review

The intrigue deepens as we delve further but don't expect any answers just yet
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Segal and Cameron Diaz star in Sex Tape

Razzies 2015 Golden Raspberry Awards 'honours' Cameron Diaz and Kirk Cameron

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscars ceremony 2015 will take place at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles
Oscars 2015A quiz to whet your appetite for tonight’s 87th Academy Awards
Arts and Entertainment
Sigourney Weaver, as Ripley, in Alien; critics have branded the naming of action movie network Movies4Men as “offensive” and “demographic box-ticking gone mad”.
TVNaming of action movie network Movies4Men sparks outrage
Arts and Entertainment
Sleater Kinney perform at the 6 Music Festival at the O2 Academy, Newcastle
musicReview: 6 Music Festival
Kristen Stewart reacts after receiving the Best Actress in a Supporting Role award for her role in 'Sils Maria' at the 40th annual Cesar awards
A lost Sherlock Holmes story has been unearthed
arts + ents Walter Elliot, an 80-year-old historian, found it in his attic,
Arts and Entertainment
Margot Robbie rose to fame starring alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street

Film Hollywood's new leading lady talks about her Ramsay Street days

Arts and Entertainment
Right note: Sam Haywood with Simon Usborne page turning
musicSimon Usborne discovers it is under threat from the accursed iPad
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.

    War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
    Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

    Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

    The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
    A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

    It's not easy being Green

    After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
    Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

    Gorillas nearly missed

    BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
    Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

    The Downton Abbey effect

    Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
    China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

    China's wild panda numbers on the up

    New census reveals 17% since 2003
    Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

    Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

    Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
    Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

    Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

    Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
    Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

    Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

    Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
    New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

    Dinner through the decades

    A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
    Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

    Philippa Perry interview

    The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

    Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

    Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
    Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

    Harry Kane interview

    The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
    The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
    HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

    Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

    Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?