REVIEW // GZA performs Liquid Swords at SWX

Hip hop pioneer GZA gave Bristol a packed performance at SWX

‘Wu-Tang Clan ain’t nuthin’ ta fuck wit. GZA ain’t nothin’ to fuck with’ hollered SWX with hands raised high showing their W’s with pride at being in the presence of one of hip hop’s greats. BamBamBam’s latest slurp of old school goodness sold out in double quick time and the rumble of anticipation was felt early on as the venue filled. 

A new look The Mouse Outfit were selected to warm up the crowd, however it’s hard not to compare their post-Jagged Tooth Crook performances against The Mouse Outfit of yesteryear. Although decent MCs in their own right, unfortunately for me it’s nowhere near the same level of the collective that we were used to, with no real differentiation between the three performers when live.

Enter the Genius, enter GZA. The indisputable pinnacle of kung fu-infused rawness, Lyrical Swords transformed the sold out venue when the sample from Duel of the Iron Mic was first heard. A packed SWX were in ecstasy throughout the back-to-back classics from the iconic album. The fact that the album pre-dated a large proportion of the attendees goes some way to show just how important a figure we were all in the presence of and how relevant Wu-Tang remain after all these years. 

at 52, GZA’s unique gravelly voice instantly evoked deep nostalgia whilst smashing through the classics from ’95

And at 52, GZA’s unique gravelly voice instantly evoked deep nostalgia whilst smashing through the classics from ’95. The years barely touching the voice that we know and love. Shadow Boxing and 4th Chamber obviously got the crowd jumping, literally, but GZA barely gave space to breath as he delivered round house kick after round house kick, not literally, in the same way that his Counter-part Ghostface Killah did at the Trinity in June. As he said himself, ‘I don’t really like to talk much’, which meant that the old cliché of let the music do the talking couldn’t have been truer on the night.

GZA barely gave space to breath as he delivered round house kick after round house kick

After the initial rush of tracks from Liquid Swords, GZA performed a light smattering of his newer music as well as performing acapella, showcasing his lyrical prowess and acute delivery, even in his advancing years.

As the night started coming to a close, the entire Clan were represented through the voice of GZA as classic Wu-Tang joints such as Protect Ya Neck and C.R.E.A.M. were performed in full. The audience were now in full voice as GZA even covered tracks such as Shimmy Shimmy Ya from Ol’ Dirty Bastard in tribute to the fallen member.

Still showing his love for what he does, GZA gave Bristol a packed performance and was shown recognition by the high-energy faithful. It’s hard to see Liquid Swords ever losing its title as one of the best hip hop records of all time from a true pioneer.

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