Drinkin’ with the Streets
The U.K.'s most essential rapper serves up beats, rhymes, and cups of brandy in This Tent.
The Streets gave a performance that was, for anyone who wanted something other than a jam band or the current crop of mainstream hip-hop, refreshing. “We are here to inject a little bit of life into the three days that you’ve been here,” Skinner said onstage. Skinner also injected some alcohol into the assembled, pouring brandy into red plastic cups for people near the stage while he was rapping. He walked with a swagger despite his mousy appearance and did not perform with any unnecessary bravado.
In addition to playing bartender at Bonnaroo for a day, he returned any inflatable balls that made their way to the crowd with a swift kick, and said that he “shoulda’ been a football player.” Skinner inserted bits of other songs into his set, including “I Bet You Look Good On The Dance Floor” by fellow Brits the Arctic Monkeys and “I Love Rock N’ Roll” by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. Many of The Streets’ songs are conversational, and Skinner frequently and seamlessly interacted with the crowd and singer Leo the Lion mid-song. Keeping his sinewy flow going while interacting with the crowd in other ways seemed effortless, and his performance was both entertaining and engaging. ALEX DIMITROPOULOS