The final night of rap pioneers Public Enemy's UK Summer tour in early August was an exclusive event, taking place in the live room at Metropolis studios in west London, where there was room for fewer than 100 people.
It was described as the 'hot ticket of the year', and indeed, tickets were changing hands on eBay hours before the gig for several hundred pounds, but due to the UK's unusually warm Summer, the event matched its description in a rather more literal way, with the stage area being described as 'a sweatbox inside a cooker' by one attendee toward the end of the night. If anything, the compact VIP room above the stage, despite the presence of several frantically whirring portable air conditioning units, was even hotter. It was also louder than bombs; the thick walls of the former power station were literally shaking under the assault of such classic material as 911 is a Joke, Fight the Power, Don't Believe the Hype and Bring the Noise.
Part of this was attributable to the playback speakers the organisers chose for the event. Not everyone attending could fit into the stage area, so Metropolis fitted out the bar area with a large screen and a full-range PMC IB2 XBD-A system to relay the live sound in high quality.
Further IB2s were placed in the VIP area above the stage. Completing the PMC picture, Public Enemy used a pair of twotwo.6 compact nearfields in their hospitality suite before and after the show.
There was no denying the power of the performance once 'the PE' finally took to the stage. Without a gold chain in sight, this was hip-hop stripped back to its roots: incisive and political, yet simultaneously moving and powerful. And of course the sound in the bar and VIP area was first class.
"How could we possibly pass up an opportunity to help Public Enemy sound absolutely amazing?" explains Keith Tonge, PMC's marketing manager.
"Frankly, it would have taken a nation of millions to hold us back from putting even more of our monitors into Metropolis for the night."