Over the course of a week or so the Restless Natives festival brought an eclectic mix of art, film and generally some much needed culture to Glasgow’s East End. That’s pronounced ‘Kulchurrrr’ if you come from here, by the way.
I didn’t manage to see everything, but arguably one of the highlights must have come from Ghostface Killah, an artist I’d think would be best known for his part in alternative hip hop pioneers the Wu Tang Clan. The recently renovated St Lukes church was the venue for the chance to see a now legendary rap artist still on top of his game and, despite being 30 mins late for his set, not to mention on stage for only an hour (!), still had the intimate interiors and punters bouncing from the start. Throughout he had us clinging for fresh air with every sample, beat and lyric delivered.
When the sampled lines “Engarde, I’ll let you try my Wu Tang style” started, my opening reaction was that tonight was going to be about giving the crowd what we wanted i.e there weren’t going to be any obscure unreleased b-sides churned out. ‘Bring Da Ruckus’ kicked off an aggressive, riotous yet communal love-in, complete with crowd chants of “bring the ruckus/ bring da muthafuckin ruckus”.
Despite being prolific in his own solo recordings, much of the set was dedicated to aforementioned Wu Tang classics, as well as cuts recorded by other Clan members – ‘Shimmy Shimmy Ya’ was a welcomed tribute to the now deceased Ol’ Dirty Bastard. I had the feeling that chaos was about to be unleashed reached when three guys from the crowd were invited to perform on stage. After some discussions with the Ghostface entourage (bouncers? bodyguards? mates?) one by one the three amateur MCs took their turn to get involved and somehow managed to deliver their chosen tracks word by word.
Once the surrealist Glaswegian interlude was finished, Ghostface soon again took over, first with ‘Mystery of Cheeseboxin’, and then with ‘Protect Ya Neck, both stand-outs from ‘Enter the Wu Tang – 36 Chambers’ record released all the way back in 1993. Despite missing key Wu Tang members Ghostface was never struggling for attitude or menace, and threw out beats and language which refuses to loosen the grip round your throat, even after it’s all done.
“Raw I’mma give it to ya, with no trivia/ Raw like cocaine straight from Bolivia/ My hip-hop will rock and shock the nation/ Like the Emancipation Proclamation.”
– R. Jackson
Venue: St Lukes, Glasgow
Support Band: n/a