The Streets Chop Suey, Seattle WA - March 15, 2003

Maker of last year's most critically adored album, Original Pirate Material, Mike Skinner (aka the Streets) turned his recent Seattle performance into a lager-fuelled riot, spitting beer with the same force he spits his ingenious rhymes. It's not hard to understand why journalists love Skinner so much — anyone writing intelligent rhymes about life in the rave generation is likely to gain a warm reception from people who went through the same experience. Skinner's themes may be universal, but, like all good art, they are expressed with a distinctively personal twist. In Skinner's case, the suburban partier (or "geezer") is glorified in the same way NWA immortalised the word "nigga." In Seattle, the impish rapper seemed to be having the time of his life, riding his backing band's able instrumentals with aplomb. "Sharp Darts" came off particularly well, truly a masterful merger of Skinner's whip-smart breakbeat arrangement and his own battle-ready boasts. "Ever heard a beat like this?," he asked, bottle aloft. No, Mike, we never have.