Bewilderment and unease rippled through the crowd when the masked figure proclaimed that he would be this evening’s entertainment.
“Y’all here for JJ Doom?” he asked through a suspiciously familiar east coast drawl, a slight panter in his voice from his hurried on-stage arrival.
“They can’t be here tonight. But it’s alright, I’m their replacement: Gone the Hero.”
The mischievous twosome that is JJ Doom – Jnerio Jarel and Doom – like to keep their audience guessing. And they almost had me for moment. Well, more than just a moment, considering Doom’s reputation for imposters and antics.
But the mystery character, clad in a dark t-shirt adorned with DC superhero Flash, a black spandex balaclava and red masquerade mask, soon showed his true colours – intentionally, of course – when he began dropping beats from Three Piece Puzzle, one of Jneiro Jarel’s early records.
In typical Doom fashion, the masked villain arrived with a smooth calm that could have suggested he’d walked into a supermarket and not a room filled with hollering fans at Fabric nightclub. With a repertoire as extensive as Doom’s, it is a treat to see him live just to hear his lyrical motors in action. But that night, the notoriously enigmatic villain was bit too laidback for some in audience.
Jneiro on the other hand, wait… I mean ‘Gone the Hero’, couldn’t stop hyping the crowd as he pulled up cut after cut from Key to the Kuffs. Fabric is famed for its under-floor speakers, and Jneiro gave the audience a reason to appreciate them with some new music, including ‘Viberian Sun Pt. II’ featuring a rap from Del the Funky Homosapien and a never-before-heard cut from a new project.
Hardcore fans rapped along to ‘Dawg Friendly’ and ‘Wash Your Hands’, while those who weren’t so familiar soaked up the psychedelic “beat-heavy music”. JJ Doom have not made many live appearances together in London, but when they do, as they did tonight, it is nothing if memorable for all involved.
Image: Aaron Lee