The Fleece has continued to spoil hip hop heads all summer – with a theme of of 90s golden era sounds clearly shining through. This time, some 26 years after the release of their seminal debut album Breaking Atoms, it was the turn of East Coast icons Main Source.
The disgusting weather brought the gathering crowd indoors early and Vels Trio, on as support, kept them there with their hypnotic jazz-influenced music. The experimental three-piece are clearly very technically gifted and it was nice to have a bit of something different before the hours of head nodding awaiting us.
Next, Toronto’s Matthew Romeo made his UK debut, warming up the decks and getting the audience in the mood for hip hop by mixing classics from the likes of Gang Starr, Mos Def and KRS-One.
there was some nervous whisperings about whether the most integral and subsequently successful member of the group, Large Professor, would be in attendance
Because Main Source disbanded after Breaking Atoms, there was some nervous whisperings about whether the most integral and subsequently successful member of the group, Large Professor, would be in attendance. There was no need. Donning a baseball cap with his own name on it, the mad scientist himself brought a huge roar of appreciation from the crowd alongside K-Cut, Neek the Exotic and Joe Fatal.
Tracks from Breaking Atoms including Just Hangin’ Out and Snake Eyes were performed with high energy and although it wasn’t a sell-out event, the slightly older than usual crowd got into it from the off.
Large Pro’s style hasn’t changed much since the early 90s and nor has his ability on the mic. The sound was great and his consistency and flow were evidence that Bristol was in the presence of a hip hop legend.
The sound was great and his consistency and flow were evidence that Bristol was in the presence of a hip hop legend
A Friendly Game of Baseball clearly brought emotions to the surface, although it seemed that this passion quickly crossed over into frustration after this tune as Large Professor pleaded with the crowd to speak back and get involved. The atmosphere was maybe a bit docile at times, but there was also a lot of love for Main Source in the room.
Live at the Barbeque was definitely a high point in an all-round great show
Live at the Barbeque was definitely a high point in an all-round great show with the audience in full voice for the chorus. Main Source let Nas’s verse play out in full, in appreciation of the fact that Breaking Atoms was where the world first got to hear the future megastar.
Towards the end of the set we were even treated to some solo classics from Large Pro with Ijuswannachill, the more chilled In the Sun, as well as, of course, the funky bassline of Mad Scientist.
It was a pleasure to see such an iconic album being performed 26 years after its release with the same energy and appetite. It was also a pleasure to witness Large Professor in the flesh. The group clearly enjoyed putting on a show and although Large Pro clearly took centre stage, Neek the Exotic and Joe Fatal did not disappoint – Joe Fatal even filling in with the Spanish background for Vamos a Rapiar.
Thanks to The Fleece for another opportunity to witness some of hip hop’s true greats in the flesh
Thanks to The Fleece for another opportunity to witness some of hip hop’s true greats in the flesh. Roll on CunninLynguists in October.
Words by Callum Rees