It’s a fairly miserable evening on the streets of Manchester, but thankfully there’s some warmth to be found inside the walls of the Roadhouse courtesy of ex-King Blues frontman iTCH. His seamless mix of rap beats and deft punk lyricism has brought a small yet passionate following out to play, and when he hits his flow their faith is rewarded in style.
For the uninitiated, iTCH’s newfound hip-hop sound might seem like a drastic departure from the folk-punk vibe of The King Blues, but there’s still plenty of righteous anger to be found amidst his new approach. ‘Spooky Kids’ is a hectic burst of reggae-infused dubstep which has heads banging and bodies skanking from the word go.
Elsewhere ‘Homeless Romantic’ fizzes with pop charm before letting loose a shimmering chorus that sees the crowd find their voice in fine style. iTCH is a feral blast of energy on stage, making his presence further felt by joining his audience on the floor for a song. There’s no sign of nerves from iTCH on his first UK headline tour as a solo act as he drops a spoken word piece in the middle of his set without so much as a stutter. It’s a strong show of confidence which goes down a storm with those assembled.
It’s not a show meant to please everybody- the lack of any material from his King Blues days is clearly a disappointment for several members of the audience- but tonight is ample evidence to suggest that iTCH has more than enough substance to succeed as a solo act.
His refusal to rest on former glories is refreshing in itself, but the results of his choice are even more endearing. iTCH has well and truly found his voice and it’s now only a matter of time before the masses sit up and take notice as they did with The King Blues.