Gig review: Wu Tang Clan, O2 Academy, Glasgow

SINCE their breakthrough in 1993 with the iconic debut album Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), following these New Yorkers has resembled watching a gritty real-life hip-hop soap opera.

Rapper Ghostface Killah of the Wu-Tang Clan. Picture: Getty



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Their most notorious member, ODB, died of a drug overdose in 2004. The other nine clansmen remain a dismayingly dysfunctional and money-obsessed bunch, forever breaking off to pursue solo careers, falling-out over creative and business decisions, and hatching mercenary plans such as creating a single copy of a new record to sell to the highest bidder (current best offer, $5 million).

So you can never be sure what, nor who, you’ll get when they play live. Swaggering onstage with Bring Da Ruckus, it was just six rappers – Ghostface Killa, Raekwon and GZA most recognisable among them – who appeared in Glasgow to support their latest album A Better Tomorrow (no sign of Method Man, now their most famous member thanks to his acting career).

After GZA berated the poor sound men, mics were turned up so loud as to constantly whine feedback. Stone-cold classics like Shame on a Nigga and C.R.E.A.M featured, but, frustratingly, in short abridged bursts, not full versions. Nonetheless, the atmosphere inside a sold-out Academy was utterly electric, such respect do the Wu command by 
their simple, menacing 

Proceedings peaked with a super-fast scratch party piece by their turntablist which included him kicking off his trainers and playing with his feet. They closed with a tribute to ODB, and the Wu’s biggest hit, Gravel Pit. “I don’t want to go,” professed Ghostface, 
with curfew and fines for breaking it looming, “but I need my money.” At least he was honest.

• Seen on 05.06.15