Having burst onto the spoken-word scene earlier this year with some very special guests in the form of Howard ‘Mr Nice’ Marks and Kate Tempest, Phantom Laundry returned with a hip-hop infused evening following a lengthy summer hiatus. Drawing upon the skills of Bristol's home-grown wordsmith Dizraeli and New York-based rapper Premrock, the evening was a chance for both performers to showcase material from their latest releases.
After a dose of grass-roots beats courtesy of resident record selector DJ Dad, the room drew forward to welcome Premrock to the stage. The Brooklyn rapper, currently on a European tour, released ‘Mark’s Wild Years’ last November, a diverse collection of songs from Tom Waits’s catalogue reinterpreted in hip-hop form. With support from DJ DownLow - widely regarded as one of the finest scratch DJs on the planet - Premrock tore through an energetic set giving Bristol a taste of the Waits-inspired album, with highlights including “Tango Till You’re Sore”, “Singapore” and “She Took All My Money”.
With DownLow dropping in evocative samples of Wait’s iconic drawl, Premrock intelligently fused his own rapid-fire lyrics with the bourbon-splashed world of the American songwriter. Both confident in his own material, Premrock also impressed in a freestyle interlude, spitting intricate lines over an improvised beat that DownLow built on-stage using his MPC2500 drum sampler.
However, it wasn’t until Dizraeli took to the stage that things really started to heat up, with the home crowd showing immediate affection for the talented lyricist and his ‘Small Gods’ bandmate. Showcasing material from their new mixtape ‘Everyone’s A Winner’, Dizraeli utilised the live turntable skills of DownLow that feature so prominently across the recent release's ten hip-hop rooted tracks.
Employing a unique and brilliantly original prop to open the set, DownLow donned a sky-blue kimono which had a striking tiger design emblazoned across the back. Stirring up a chant that rhythmically matched “he’s got a sky blue kimono, tiger on the back” to an improvised beat that utilised DownLow’s drum machine, the audience were instantly captivated by Dizraeli’s lyrical dexterity. From that moment, the crowd surged forward as the technically gifted lyricist spun a web of stories that circulated the city of Bristol, with many references drawing shouts and cheers of recognition from the crowd.
Demonstrating fluidity in rich verses and an extraordinary vocal versatility, the interplay between MC and DJ was hugely impressive as beats and lyrics blended in perfect harmony. Ending on a final medley of hip hop classics that included KRS One, Nas and many others, Dizraeli and DownLow let the record play out to round off another enjoyable evening courtesy of Phantom Laundry.
Photography: George Dallimore
For more information, check out www.Dizraeli.com.