Too Many T’s at Think Tank
Better than an away day with your lady to Haiti!
Too Many T’s – Think Tank? Newcastle 11th October 2017
We headed down to Think Tank last night for a midweek night of hip-hop, headlined by the amazing Too Many T’s. It was the first night of the South London rappers big tour following the launch of their debut album South City last month.
We arrived early and grabbed a beer. Think Tank’s intimate setting was a good fit for a hip-hop night and I was intrigued to see what the crowds would be like. Hip-hop and Newcastle might not seem like the first connection that come to mind with the North East party capital more known for cheesy pop nights but there is a healthy hip-hop scene with many local artists drawing on their experiences of the reality of life ‘Up North‘, proving once again hip-hop is the satirical voice of the underclass. From the genres inception in the 1970’s in the Bronx it has always been about inspiring the disenfranchised. The lack of hip-hop nights in Newcastle has been an issue for a while and I was excited to see just what was in store for us.
The support did not disappoint, a plethora of local hip-hop acts, with Gilly Man Giro, Rick Fury, Stu Kinghippo Thedon and DJ ADS supporting Too Many T’s, assembled like a team of super heroes to show the T’s what the North East could offer. To be honest I think more should have been made about the support, for those not in the scene it was hard to find out the full line-up. That would be my only criticism in what was a flawless night of top-notch UK hip-hop.
It had the right feel for a hip-hop night, with the acts all relaxed and intermingling, checking out each others flow and rhymes, with a healthy respect of their craft and a love of hip-hop. No beef, it was practically a vegetarian affair, with Leon and Ross from the T’s bopping along to the beats in the crowd as if they where just there to watch a gig not star in it! Less gangstas and more pranksters the Too Many T’s infectious personalities are just the same off stage as on. It was great to see and everyone was enjoying the night.
For those of you who have not been to a hip-hop night they rarely do big intros or elongated walk-ons. The acts just chilled in the crowd together and then stepped on stage before laying down some serious rhymes. I was really impressed with all the support, each could have headlined a night to be honest, their styles were all very different but complimented each other on the night.
Rick Fury would jump in with Gilly Man Giro and Stu Kinghippo Thedon as if from nowhere, backpack on his back, he looked ready to do a runner at any moment! His energy was infectious and it was the perfect match.
The crowd was loving it and the bar staff and bouncer were getting in on it too. There was a great vibe across the club and a real mix of people, with die-hard hip-hop fans, groupies, random revellers, plus the rappers entourage of mates and family members. Everyone was bopping and swaying along with a can or bottle in hand, the DJ’s were really outstanding and the rappers did not miss a beat.
You can hear Gilly Man Giro (For The Heads) here.
After Rick jumped in it was his turn to go solo for a while, the gig was running a few minutes late by that point but he wasted no time getting straight to it. Hailing from South Shields this local lad has been grafting hard to put his tunes out there and has gained a loyal local following. His remarkable story-telling ability, sincerity, humour and masterful wordplay have gained him wide recognition as one of the best.
His songs reflect his life and he lives and breathes hip-hop.
This was probably best reflected by his anthemic finally ‘Hometown‘, a haunting and epic ode to South Shields. It was an amazing performance with some truly masterful wordplay and heartfelt lyrics, I have to admit the song was stuck in my head for the rest of the night.
His album ‘Fist of Fury‘ is available here: http://killamari.bandcamp.com/album/fist-of-fury
You can check out Rick Fury here.
With the local boys holding there own it was time for the T’s to show their stuff. A change of pace, Too Many T’s brought there unique take on hip-hop to the north east as the opening to their tour showcasing their debut album ‘South City‘. The duo, Leon Rhymes and Ross Standaloft, have crafted a faithful following with their golden-era hip hop formula; positive vibes, trademark rapid back to back flows and turbo-charged live performances.
Too Many T’s have built up a strong fan base with their electric performances and positive vibes stage shows, touring all over the UK over the last four years. They have supported some of hip-hop’s greats including Snoop Dogg, Big Daddy Kane, De La Soul and Public Enemy. But it’s now time for the T’s to step forward and take centre stage.
They opened with ‘1992‘, a full on old school tune that pays homage to the classic hip-hop sounds of the early 90’s.
This was the perfect intro to what the T’s are all about, ridiculously talented with amazing lyrical dexterity, mind-blowing speed and on-point lyrics. As openers go it was outstanding and got the crowd pumped.
Ross Standaloft and Leon Rhymes energy makes them a huge hit with the festival scene and they have been touring hard of recent, and it shows, with a slick and well polished feel. Thought Leon did his best to remind us they are mere mortals, forgetting to pack their screen for the projections of their videos. Probably not the start they wanted to day one of the tour! But he took it all in his stride, heading down to Debenhams to by a white bedsheet as a makeshift replacement, all stuck up with a big of gaffa tape! I’d half expected him to shoot a Facebook Live of him buying the bedsheets to be honest, something they have become well know for with their innovative videos over the last few years.
They shot ‘Hang Tight‘ in the UK’s first Facebook Live music video back in August. For those who have not seen it yet check it out, is well worth a look!
After that it was the turn of their new track ‘Panther‘, which they have just filmed a new video for, check it out here.
The beats were courtesy of DJ Savage Henry on the wheels of steel, and it was pretty damn perfect for the first night of the tour! They freestyled a little in a cipher as he gave them some random beats mixed just for Think Tank.
Like adrenaline fuelled Beastie Boys on amphetamines they spit rhymes faster than a speeding bullet. I’d definitely recommend going to see them just for that! Some hip-hop artists live sound nothing like they do in the recording studio but the T’s were exactly like you’d hear if you were listening to their album or watching them on YouTube.
To check out them on SoundCloud click here.
With a couple of tracks done they chatted to the crowd about how excited they were to finally get their tour up and running. The album and tour has been a hard couple of years work, tirelessly working on everything. It was great to see they picked Newcastle for their first night.
There were a couple of die-hard fans, including one girl in the t-shirt she had bought at a previous gig.
She got him to sign it with a sharpie and looked very chuffed with herself.
They have definitely nailed the videos and merch.
They also had vinyls available for the purists out there, much to one guy in the crowds excitement.
Though social media, merch and marketing aside they are foremost amazing performers. Their energy and enthusiasm is infectious. This combined with genuine raw talent, lyrical mastery and dope beats makes for an fantastic show. They have chosen not to follow the hip-hop cliche many in the UK have, rapping about flash cars and bottles of Cristal. Instead they stay true to their roots and fun-loving personalities.
Positive and self-deprecating hip-hop is a hard-line to walk but they do it perfectly without appearing novelty or saccharin. This is down to their skill and mastery of rap. During the gig they switched styles a few times, proving they could do the battling style of ‘Eminem‘ and even going a capella. I’m totally sure these guys could turn their hand to any style of hip-hop and carry it off well, they certainly do know their stuff and hip-hop history, but with ‘South City‘ they have crafted their own unique style and sound.
I think it is only a matter of time before these boys go big and it is a joy to see them at such an independent local venue.
“For us, this just feels like the beginning. To work for over two years on the album and for everything to finally come together, we couldn’t be more hyped to get out there and show people what we’ve been cooking.” Leon Rhymes, Too Many T’s
A few songs down they decided to change it up and launch into their internet sensation hit ‘Better Than‘. This Grime inspired rap showcases their fun side and lyrical speed. For those you who have not seen the video check it out, is well worth a view. You can see it on YouTube here.
We can exclusively reveal that they have been busy working on a sequel to this with ‘Tougher Than‘. It should come out this Friday, so watch their Facebook for details.
It was a case of gaffa tape and bed sheets are not ‘Better Than‘ a projection screen as the tape came undone and the makeshift screen began to sag. Luckily DJ Savage Henry was on it and stuck it back up as the boys began. Ever the consummate professionals they took it in their stride and did not miss a beat. It was amazing to see.
You can check out our Facebook video of it below.
It was a real crowd pleaser and stunned the audience. Produced by Odjbox it has some huge beats behind it.
The big beats were on show again as they went into ‘God Save The T’s‘, the first track from the duo’s debut album ‘South City’. They went down to see the Queen at Buckingham Palace and play her this, though they did not get close enough to see what she thought!
Next up was a change of pace again, with a few slower and more serious songs. It was interesting to see them switch styles like this. They went down really well with the other acts and got a lot of respect, showing the boys can do serious.
The songs touched on some hard-hitting issues and you could see it meant a lot to them to get such a reaction from the crowd and other artists. Rick Fury shouted out at them to tell them it was his favourite.
With the gig nearly at a close they gave the crowd a huge shout out and got us all waving our hands in the air as strutted their stuff banging out some amazing tracks, finishing on ‘Diamonds Gold (Ice, white and black)’. It went down a storm and got a huge applause. After the gig they chilled out with the audience, saying thanks to just about everyone who came, this was great to see. They posed for selfies and chatted to people. It must have been a big relief for them finally getting the tour on its way.
As nights went it was pretty perfect. The local support acts were amazing and I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for them in Newcastle in future. I’d happily se any of them headlining their own nights. They kept it real with poignant lyrics, great performances and proved hip-hop is alive and well in Newcastle. The North East hip-hop scene is on the rise and creating its very own distinct identity, which is great to see.
As for Too Many T’s, well they were out of this world, if you get a chance to see them I would definitely recommend doing so. It was nice to see them at their very own show. Having seen them on the festival scene, jammed in between indie acts it was good to see them in their element at their very own hip-hop night. I expect big things from them over the next few years and hope Newcastle and Think Tank will be lucky enough to have them back soon.
Top marks to Too Many T’s, ten out of ten for performance.
You can buy ‘South City‘ on i-Tunes here.
TOO MANY T’S – SOUTH CITY TOUR 2017
12TH OCT GLASGOW, HUG & PINT
13TH OCT INVERNESS, MAD HATTERS
14TH OCT LIVERPOOL, 24 KITCHEN STREET
18TH OCT MANCHESTER, THE DEAF INSTITUTE
19TH OCT LEEDS, HYDE PARK BOOK CLUB
20TH OCT NOTTINGHAM, ROCK CITY BASEMENT
21ST OCT BIRMINGHAM, THE SUNFLOWER LOUNGE
24TH OCT CARDIFF, CLWB IFOR BACH
25TH OCT BRISTOL, EXCHANGE
26TH OCT PLYMOUTH, THE JUNCTION
01ST NOV BRIGHTON, HOPE & RUIN
02ND NOV SOUTHAMPTON, JOINERS
03RD NOV OXFORD THE BURLINGTON
04TH NOV BATH, THE NEST
~ a guest blog sponsored by The Neon Greenhouse