Review: Q-Tip keeps heads bopping at KOKO London

q-tip gilles peterson

Following a hotly anticipated performance at London’s Wireless Festival earlier that evening as part of the legendary A Tribe Called Quest, Q-Tip took top billing at KOKO on July 14, sharing DJ duties with the ever reliable Gilles Peterson and London’s very own scratch master, Harry Love.

Running the hustling “buy my CD it’s the dopest shit in the UK” rapper gauntlet en route to the sweaty confines of the KoKo dancefloor proved to be heavy work, thankfully Peterson already had the good time disco funk grooves rolling and things were looking up. After warming up the expectant audience with a number of dance floor sure shots, Peterson exited the stage and the muscular, dark sunglasses-sporting figure of Q-Tip took control of the decks.

For the next hour and a half, Tip embarked on a journey through the sounds of ’70s funk, soul, boogie and disco into the golden age of hip-hop. Despite initial problems with the mixer, the crowd lapped up every tune whilst feel good vibes present in the outer world transferred indoors. Once Tip started to run through ’90s and early ’00s hip-hop club bangers, people responded en masse in a variety of ways from throwing elaborate dance shapes to vigorous head bopping.

As the set hit its peak, the mind wandered to where exactly these special guests promised on the flyer are. Rumours in the buildup to the gig hinted that they could be anyone from Wireless – Nas? Jigga & Timberlake? Or better yet, the rest of the Tribe?

Alas none of the above appeared – but Q-Tip did jump out from behind the decks and finish his set with a quick verse of his own from the Tribe classic, “Award Tour.” This easily drew the most enthusiastic crowd response of the night and Tip departed the stage on good terms with all concerned. DJ Harry Love then took the baton and proceeded to runs with it – dropping a number of Tribe classics that had the crowd muttering he played more Tribe than Q-Tip, in disapproval.

After a number of well-executed mixes of ’90s hip-hop crowd favorites, Love brought the nights entertainment to an end. Although great music was played throughout, one can’t help but wonder what might have been if the specials guests made an appearance and Q-Tip got busy on the mic a little more. A good night could have become a classic night in an instant, however a good night following a hot summers day is still win-win – and Q-Tip helped prove that the Tribe can still kick it with the best of them.