DESPITE claims the internet has democratised music delivery, the reality is that some artists are more equal than others. However, Macklemore, aka Seattle rapper Ben Haggerty, enjoyed a bona fide independent victory earlier this year when he became the first act in almost 20 years to top the Billboard charts without the support of a major label.
Someone has since picked up the tab for this spangly show with its engaging visuals, guest vocalists, glitter showers, smoke jets, live string and horn sections and some serious bass amplification.
But it was Haggerty who drove the entertainment. He is not the most audacious rhymer, nor is his music wildly original but, in terms of style and subject matter, he is something of a tonic, not just eschewing, but in some cases challenging the prevailing misogyny and homophobia of hip-hop culture. Judging by the ecstatic reaction to his debut Scottish outing, he and his producer Ryan Lewis are doing something right.
Thrift Shop, his catchy, witty riposte to hip-hop’s conspicuous consumerism and label culture, was a clear highlight, performed in a jumble sale fur coat donated by an audience member, accompanied by dancers, also rigged out in thrift chic.
In contrast to this daffiness, he stayed just the right side of didactic when expressing his support for same sex marriage on the soppy Same Love. However, formulaic rave pop bangers And We Danced and Can’t Hold Us could be the work of any number of major label stooges.
Rating: * * *