Live music review – B. Dolan at The Ferret, Preston – 17.9.15

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By Kate Hole- Reporter 


The Ferret is an intimate venue on Fylde Road (opposite 53 Degrees) with a capacity approaching 200. I arrive early to see the supporting acts, a few people are already there but it quickly fills up with a crowd which is roughly 90% young white males, and smoke from an over enthusiastic smoke machine.

First up is Preston’s own Razorrawks, who raps about politics, social class and life in the North of England. His brand of ‘flat cap rap’ goes down well with the crowd.

Next up is Scott Roman who combines beatboxing, synths, loops and vocals in a unique way. It may not have been what the hip-hop crowd tonight were expecting but he gets a guy to rap with him on the last 2 songs of the set which gets the crowd going.
Then it’s time for Mega Ran and Storyville, a hip-hop duo from Philadelphia. The set is heavy on audience participation as we fling a ball of energy back and forth to the track ‘React’. Many of the tracks feature samples from video games and the crowd goes wild for a track about Final Fantasy.

The penultimate act is DJ Buddy Peace who puts on a fine set. As a DJ his set isn’t much of a visual affair and there’s obviously no pause for applause between tracks. He plays a good mix of hip-hop, r & b, pop, rock and the Nine Inch Nails track ‘Closer’ which I think I appreciated more than anybody.

Then it’s our headliner, B. Dolan with Buddy Peace DJing. Dolan takes the stage wearing a large padded jacket. He unfastens this during a song referencing police violence and the punchline is revealed when we see he’s wearing a t-shirt with The Simpsons’ Chief Wiggum emblazoned across it with the words ‘Anarchy’ and ‘Violence’. Highlights of the set include the thought provoking spoken word piece “Who Killed Russell Jones?” about Ol’ Dirty Bastard, a member of the Wu-Tang Clan who died of a drug overdose in 2004 after his addiction, legal troubles and erratic behaviour made frequent news.

Another crowd pleaser was “Film the Police”, inspired by N.W.A.’s Fuck Tha Police and the shooting of Oscar Grant who was filmed being held down by police and then shot. The song has become an anthem connected to the protests in America after the shootings of unarmed citizens and the hashtag has trended on twitter. Dolan asks for the lights turned off in the venue and us to light the room with just our mobile phones, showing the difference we can all make with this one tool.

“Which Side Are You on?” was also a highlight. Dolan believes it’s not enough to just not be racist when racism continues, it’s not enough to just not be homophobic when homophobia continues. We each need to declare which side we are on and fight racism, homophobia, sexism and transphobia when we see it. Dolan gets Roman Scott, Mega Ran & Storyville back up on stage to do a freestyle.

He claims filming on phones has killed the freestyle as rappers are self-conscious in case there’s record of them messing up. There’s still two dickheads right at the front filming on their phones, but they absolutely nail it and Dolan works this into the rap and confiscates the phones.

B. Dolan then goes on to say he’ll do two more songs instead of pretending to leave then doing an encore. As the set finishes he gets mobbed at the merch table and I leave tired and inspired.

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