Scroobius Pip - Coalition, Brighton 11/11/11
It’s a meeting of minds tonight as Scroobius Pip and his support B Dolan take on Brighton’s Coalition. A rare occasion where support actually works with the main act, rather than just being a time-filler, or some band the gigs organisers wanted to push. As with Pip, B Dolan is hard-hitting and truth-speaking, contrasting his dark lyrics with humour but that still resonate with a point.
Appearing on stage with a large hang-mans noose around his neck, B Dolan showcased his tunes from last year’s albums Fallen House, Sunken City, and it was obvious he already had a lot of fans in the crowd, not to mention those he was about to win over. His onstage banter saw him inciting a fight between the US and UK, laughing at the all the “englishmen” and “hobbits” in the crowd, and his perfect picking of an audience member to join him in a dance-off. The chosen one turned out to be called Nigel “what an English name!," and as B Dolan belted out a cover of LL Cool J’s ‘You Can’t Dance’ the pair of them showcased their moves - obviously with B Dolan being the winner.
With an early finish tonight, Mr Scroobius Pip wastes no time getting his set started. After an extremely short DJ set consisting of Mr Pip in a mask, he whips it off after just 10 minutes and is straight up to his mic starting with ‘Intradiction’, just as his album does. “This piece of diction is the intro to ‘Distraction Pieces’," and the crowd are ever ready to scream out those defining lines “you see a mousetrap, I see free cheese and a FUCKING CHALLENGE!."
Pip might be without his sidekick Dans le Sac for this album, but he’s now got a band for company, which results in completely different dynamics as he follows with ‘Try Dying’ and ‘Domestic Silence’, traditional swigging his way from a bottle of Rose “I even did this up North, they took the piss out of me too." He also had support B Dolan back on stage for ‘Soulja Boy’ and B Dolans own song ‘One Breath Left’ which saw them both leaning into the crowd arms outstretched so that the audience could shout the lyrics into their mics.
During the set, I believe we got the revelation to end all family secrets - Pip is related to that kid who got kicked off the X-Factor? “He’s my cousin or something. Only met him as a baby. If he had a beard he'd be all right. He's bullshitting about the girls he's slept with - that's his mum and aunties. He's not doing coke he's drinking it!” I don’t think it lost him any cool points, but I doubt very much that Pip would care either way. He also had something to say about all the baby-fluff in the crowd - “Fuck you if you’re doing Movember - a moustache is for life!." Indeed, and just before he starts on ‘1000 Words’ “I might strum my beard that I did not grow for charity!."
Pip knows he’s got a very responsive crowd on his hands tonight, as he offers the choice “another slow song or a rowdy one?" Obviously rowdy wins, and Pip chooses one “for the mosh pit kids” with ‘Let ‘Em Come’ and takes this opportunity of a hyped up crowd to leap into the audience for a bit of crowd-surfing. Impressively, he lands back on stage no problem (not that there’s anywhere to go in Coalition due to the size), and even manages to keep his hat.
‘The Struggle’ signifies the end of his set, with the crowd taking up the line “My name is Jonny Depp and I kill people." But the turnaround for the encore is swift due to the venues early and strict curfew, and Pip returns on stage with guest Natasha Fox for ‘Feel It’. The night ends with ‘When I Grow Up’, and not one person in that venue would be able to leave without the lyrics "When I grow up I want to be an astronaut" resonating in their head for hours.
Pip decides to take advantage of the fantastic crowd one more time by requesting another crowd-surfing attempt that would see him taken all the way to the merchandise stall at the back of the venue, even over the obstacle of stairs. Of course, he achieves this - the is the man that’s gathered together one of the most eclectic audiences I’ve ever seen, even by Brightons standards; all ages, all styles, all brought together because of one man’s way with words, proving that even, as a solo artist, Scroobius Pip has the ability to not just pull an audience but to captivate and inspire them, all at the same time.