Last Night: That rare breed, a hip-hop outfit who feel at home on the stage

Black Eyed Peas

Hammersmith Apollo

TWO YEARS ago, Los Angeles' most peaceful rappers were finally rewarded for their principled stand against hip-hop thuggery. Their musical prayer "Where Is The Love?" became the biggest-selling single of 2003, only thanks in part to Justin Timberlake's chorus.

Such success has cut little ice with ' record company, who postponed the follow-up to their breakthrough album Elephunk to concentrate on the sudden success of label mate The Game, this year's 50 Cent. It is only the latest setback for the group, in the wake of a studio fire last summer.

Their fourth album Monkey Business is now due for an April release. If any of this bothered the group's rapping trio and female vocalist, they refused to let on as they bounded on stage, a huge cheer reserved for the singer Fergie, who only joined for their breakthrough album.

For Monkey Business, the Peas could have headed down a R&B route. With the rappers swapping rhymes from the off, they were clearly sticking to their hip-hop roots. Their rhythms, though, were more propulsive than funky, veering from a bone-shaking four-four pulse to a frenetic dancehall pattern.

The Peas are that rare specimen, a hip-hop outfit that made their name on the live circuit, so apart from a perfunctory "say " at the start, this group had no need of the tedious call and responses beloved of the genre's biggest stars.

With his long dreds, Will.I.Am could have taken the role of spiritual leader. He was the earthiest performer.

Taboo, high cheekbones betraying his native American and Hispanic mix, was the smooth operator. Fergie had her say too, albeit as a more presentable Pink than a Lauryn Hill.

Much hip-hop fails on stage because backing tracks fall flat or musicians are brought in as an after-thought. The troupe last night were an integral part of the show, especially adept at recreating classic funk samples.

A blues shuffle was interrupted to allow Fergie a few bars of "Like A Virgin", though her cartwheel while singing was more memorable.

Will.I.Am promised the new album would feature a more raw sound than Elephunk. Certainly, new material slotted in well with the more robust tracks from that record. Pumping matched Dick Dale surf guitar with a ferocious backbeat.

For an encore Will.I.Am took over the drums for skits of Kelis' "Milkshake" and Snoop Dogg's "Drop It", even with the throat clicks, before the group reconvened for the main event.

"Where Is The Love?" set off a communal singalong and huge smiles across the auditorium. They may lack gravitas when they try to be serious, but the Peas still provide the liberal hymn sheet of choice.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Sport
Club legend Paul Scholes is scared United could disappear into 'the wilderness'
football
Life and Style
food + drink
News
video
Sport
Malky Mackay salutes the Cardiff fans after the 3-1 defeat at Liverpool on Sunday
footballFormer Cardiff boss accused of sending homophobic, racist and messages
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Amis: Taken to task over rash decisions and ill-judged statements
booksThe Zone of Interest just doesn't work, says James Runcie
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Commercial IT Solicitor - London

Very Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: Commercial IT Solicitor - London We h...

Business Analyst / Project Manager - Financial Services

£40000 - £45000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: One of the mos...

Lead Business Analyst - Banking - London - £585

£525 - £585 per day: Orgtel: Lead Business Analyst - Investment Banking - Lond...

Service Desk Analyst- Desktop Support, Helpdesk, ITIL

£20000 - £27000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst- (Desktop Su...

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home