Next to Button Factory, Whelan's of Wexford St in Dublin may be one of my favourite venues.OK so it's sometimes devoid of much of an atmosphere, and yes the layout of the place can get fucking annoying, but all that can be excused when you have a sound system as ear splittingly loud and clear as they have, along with some of the capital's nicest staff.Tonight is a low key event, as larger than life underground Hip-Hop supremo B.Dolan hits the tiny downstairs stage to preach his no nonsense rap gospel to a small but rapt crowd.
First up though is the double whammy support of Welsh spin meister Buddy Peace,along with one Mr Dan Le Sac, who you might recognise as one half of Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip, both doubling up as Dolan's backline tonight, a logical choice given that they've co produced Dolan's newest album.Peace opens the night with a fun but slightly hit and miss set, an old school cut and paste relying on scratching, some cleverly chosen sample and the odd bit of drum machine/Kaos pad experimentation.It's hardly earth shattering stuff, but Peace is an affable sort of bloke, and gets a couple of heads bopping down the front.
Much better is Le Sac's solo endeavours.Freed from the constraints of providing the backdrop for Pip's eloquent but sometimes overpowering rants, he is allowed a bit of breathing space, and his short but sweet half hour set tonight takes in minimalist techno, a modicum of trance, breakbeat, a quick , and surprisingly entertaining detour through dubstep , and climaxes in a genius a drum n bass version of Sabbath's uber-classic 'War Pigs'.Throughout ,the likable Le Sac mixes, manipulates and sometimes dances like a man possessed, clearly having the time of his life.His dabbling with noise and bizarre rhythmical shifts suggests an affection for the late nineties output of Bristol techno meisters Warp Records,suggesting interesting things to come from the affable beat maker.
But the highlight tonight is towering Rhode Island native Dolan, and his brilliant, rousing Hip-Hop din.A true master of his craft, tonight he dominates the tiny Whelan's stage with his clever,machine gun rhyming and eloquent prose irresistible, and intoxicating.Le Sac and Peace mesh together beautifully, and there's clear chemistry between the trio , with a bit of friendly banter exchanged at times, and the audience laps it up.It may not be the most packed this venue has ever been, but when there's an atmosphere this jovial and charged it doesn't really matter.Crowd favourites like 'Earthmovers' and 'Joan Of Arcadia' sit easily alongside the new material , and bode well for Dolan's forthcoming collaboration with Peace and Le Sac, while a spine tingling rendition of the spoken word piece 'Who Killed Russel Jones' proves mesmerizing in it's stark brutality. This is underground Hip-hop at it's best , acerbic, intelligent, and with a snarl and an honesty to it that reminds why you might have fallen in love with the genre in the first place.A cracking night and value for money from one of the genre's finest.
Stephen O ' Connor
Stephen O ' Connor