Live Review: Is Tropical & Egyptian Hip Hop 07.02.10

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By Samantha Field

Is Tropical are still relatively unknown. Based in London and signed to Hit Club Records they seem a long way from home in Glasgow’s Captain’s Rest. Clad with bandannas across their faces; they look more prepared for an elaborately dressed bank heist than their UK tour. Their set starts convincingly with an instrumental comprised of electro backing tracks played over energetic guitar lines and bass heavy drums. They are a three piece clearly attempting to bring the electro influence into their alternative sound, as their setup sees the guitarist and bassist alternate between a Microkorg and a Yamaha synth.

Their set flows well without inciting too much excitement, with highlights including, “I Think We’re Alone”, and single, “When O When”, with its infectious build-up and quirky lyrics about the white cliffs of Dover. However, despite all their efforts to make a band they’ve described as The Strokes meets The Postal Service, they don’t appear to be doing anything too out of the ordinary that hasn’t been done before, or even in the last few years for that matter. And although they please the crowd tonight you can’t help but suspect that Glasgow will be about as tropical as it gets.

The headline act of the night were the much-hyped Egyptian Hip Hop. Named numerous times by magazines as ‘ones to watch for 2010’, including Clash and NME we expected great things. The first thing to note are Egyptian Hip Hop are young, and they are tiny. Their miniature heads are obscured by their heavy fringes and their skinny jeans hang off their skinnier legs. It’s hard to believe how much hype is brewing around these frighteningly young things, and as their front man, Alex Hewett, admits, it adds a certain amount of pressure. Not that you would ever be able to tell. They are painfully nonchalant. Confident would be an understatement. They are so effortlessly at ease on stage you would never guess they are out on a school night.

Their performance is another effortless affair, as they swing through catchy instrumentals, the haunting ‘Rad Pitt’, their dreamy B-side ‘Heavenly’ and their single, ‘Wild Human Child’. Any one of the band members can pick up any one of the instruments, and they often do casually swap round. Their songs are post-indie, genre defying numbers that evoke a sense of nostalgia greater than their age would seem to allow, and they have certainly benefited from production from the front-man from Late of the Pier. But, to quote NME “I’ve seen the future, and its Egyptian Hip Hop” seems to be putting alot of faith in a band who have only written a handful of songs, played a few live shows and don’t really seem to have a awful lot of direction at the moment. However, saying that, one thing that did stand out from their gig was the awesome amount of potential they have at the moment. Painfully young, trendy, talented and with all the right contacts looking out for them, this band definitely has the ability to become one of the next bright young things on the UK music scene. As Hewett proclaims before the show, if he had to give advice to other young bands starting up; work hard, keep trying, cos unless you’re a moron you’ll only get better with time. Well they didn’t seem like complete morons so I guess we can expect great things from them.

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