Dan Le Sac and Merz: Leadmill, Sheffield – 19/10/2012

Historic venue, the Leadmill has had a resurgence of late with impressive bookings and resurgent club nights. Tonight they were hosting the solo venture of Dan Le Sac, the man responsible for the beats behind Scroobius Pip. The promise of the night was huge.
Walking into support act Merz was an interesting experience though, hit by the glutton of October gigs and a now infamous football match on the same night, led to a smaller crowd than you’d imagine. But Merz, stayed professional throughout. His sound was difficult to pin down, swaying between Patrick Wolf and Bob Dylan through to Paul Weller and a male equivalent of Micachu and the Shapes. Merz appeared later in the evening as one of the advertised ‘friends’ of the main act, for now though the jury was out on an act that demonstrated plenty of ‘hit’ and unfortunately equal amounts of ‘miss’.

Dan Le Sac and his regular comrade are well known for poetry to a catchy beat, but they’ve long both been about more than the sum of their parts. Pip went down the route of a guitar based band, and Dan Le Sac has moved towards providing the beats for a range of vocal styles, culminating in debut album ‘Space Between The Words’. Dan Le Sac spread the load on tour with some of his favourite up and coming vocalists, and demonstrate he isn’t a one trick pony.

Coming out of his shell Dan’s cheeky casual style brought laughter to the crowd many times during the evening, easing the crowd into the diverse styles his album brings. A listen to the album will tell you they may not always sit together well but live they flowed more easily. Moving from synth-pop to house to hip hop the gig never got boring, introducing the crowd to the ever-present Sarah Williams White on keys and vocals, the constantly grinning Joshua Idehen and support act Merz during the set, you get the feeling this is a group that are enjoying this tour and enjoying their music. 

The banter between Dan and the crowd was more like a stand up comedy show than a gig, which felt apt for someone with an obvious jokey charisma stepping out of the shadows of his regular partner. It feels like a real shame that this was hosted as a gig rather than a club night, his sound deserves more than a few dozen admirers, but I’m pretty sure every single one including me came away with a grin from ear to ear of a night well spent!