MCs Step It Up again

Stereo MCs
Stereo MCs
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Hip-hop veterans Stereo MCs are back on the road in the UK for the first time in more than a decade – and heading for the North West next week.

The trio – vocalist Robert ‘Rob B’ Birch, DJ/producer Nick ‘The Head’ Hallam and drummer Ian ‘Owen If’ Rossiter – bring their renowned live show to Manchester Academy next Friday (September 11).

While the band may not have been regulars on the British road in recent years, they have kept busy, producing other artists and touring Europe.

Recently, however, according to lead singer Rob, the trio have gone back to where it all started for them in the late 1980s, making underground music.

Rob, who turns 54 next month, says: “We’re working on some new tracks.

“We are doing a bunch of new stuff, completing what we have got started.

We are doing a bunch of new stuff, completing what we have got started.

“But we’re just getting back to the way we started out, making underground dance music, getting some 12 inches pressed up, taking it out to shops.”

Stereo MCs formed 30 years ago and Rob admits there have been huge changes in the way music is released since then. But he has been delighted by the recent revival in vinyl sales.

“Digital is great when you want to put something out quickly, ” he says.

“But fans want something more than a virtual digital track, something you can actually hold. We like to do a nice sleeve, something people will like to have.”

Rob is also pleased to be back on the road in his home country.

“We last toured the UK 12 years ago. And for the last five or six years, we haven’t done any gigs in the UK, but we have been touring all over Europe.

“I think we were under a misconception that the UK is a very fast-moving scene and we just thought gigs were not happening for us.”

And Rob says the reaction from British audiences so far has been really good.

“It’s been some of the best gigs we have done in a long time,” he says.

And Rob is promising some of the band’s greatest hits when the tour arrives in the North West.

The band enjoyed a string of top 20 hits in the early 1990s, including Connected, Step It Up, Ground Level, Creation and Deep, Down and Dirty. Album Connected also reached number two in the UK album charts following its release in October 1992.

“We will be playing the whole of Connected, ” says Rob.

“We’ll also be playing songs from all our records, from when we started and off our newest album.”

However, he urged the audience to give it all at the show, to allow the band to feed off the atmosphere.

“When we come out live, it’s more of an energy thing and that’s down to the crowd.

“We know not to expect anything, but if the audience is banging, then great.”

Stereo MCs play Manchester Academy 3 on Friday, September 11, doors 7.30pm.

Tickets £17.50 advance, call the box office on 0161 832 1111 or see www.manchesteracademy.net/ or www.seetickets.com/

Jon Ball