herald

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Mack's laptop crashes, but did they try turning it off and on again?

"THE computer that we have is crashing!" Of all the things Seattle rapper Ben 'Macklemore' Haggerty expected to tell 37,000 people at the biggest headlining show of his career, we're sure this wasn't one of them. Alas, there are gremlins in the system.

Does Mack's musical partner, superstar DJ and producer Ryan Lewis, have another laptop handy?

Has he tried turning the current one off and then on again?

"We'll be right back," says Ben. Five minutes later, the lads return…and the gadgets are still banjaxed.

In fact, it's another half an hour before this gig finally gets off the ground. It's a good thing that the rain has stopped and that their fans (most of them teenagers) are willing to stick it out.

No surprises, then, that the set-list appears to have been radically altered at the last minute, and as soon as we're up and running, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis - accompanied by a tight ensemble of string and brass players - hit us low and fast, serving up smash after smash as though their lives depend on it.

Haggerty, especially, performs with all the furious drive of a man desperate to forget about the disastrous opening.

How did an unsigned, American hip-hop duo, who couldn't even get a gig in Ireland three years ago, end up selling out Marlay Park?

Mack hasn't got the answer, but he does remember their first show at the Twisted Pepper on Middle Abbey Street.

He'll tell us about it over and over. That is, once he's finished dishing out the hits.

Anthem

Novelty bargain-chasing number Thrift Shop is first up, followed by equality anthem Same Love, the boisterous Can't Hold Us (which later gets a second airing) and White Walls.

A phenomenal, quadruple-whammy, for sure. But once we're finished with that lot, the gig takes a nosedive.

The flow is disjointed - it's all highs and lows, lulls and chit-chat.

Too much fancy-dress and faffing about, and not nearly enough action. That's what happens when you play the encore first.

We expected more.

"If there's one thing I know about the Irish people, it's that we're not gonna let a computer ruin our night!" he declares.

I wouldn't be so sure about that, Mack. Maybe bring a back-up next time.

hnews@herald.ie

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