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Versatile bring the shock factor

Monday, 24th June, 2019 2:18pm

Making your way through the hordes of mid-to-late teens, it’s immediately clear that this is not a normal gig at Live at the Marquee.

Alongside the packs of baby-faced attendees, there are larger numbers of gardaí than you might expect for a gig in a venue which only holds 5,000 people and is not exactly famed for trouble.

Nonetheless, such measures should probably have been expected for Versatile, who wear their references to drugs, lavish tastes and partying as badges of honour.

Ringsend duo Casper Walsh and Eskimo Supreme have been selling out increasingly larger arenas since 2017, and were widely considered one of the stand-out acts at last year’s Electric Picnic, although they have been making rap videos for years before that.

Employing a heavy use of Irish street slang, spoken in their snarling Dublin accents, their penchant for rapping about late-night parties, class-A substances and wearing Gucci have made them firm favourites among younger generations and those with a liking for '90s West Coast beats. 

As if to remind any parent who might have brought their child that their music is, yes, very much NSFW, they immediately address the crowd on Friday night: “Cork what the f*ck is happenin’!”

Switching between typical hype man hand-waving and confident peacock-like strutting, the duo rip through popular tracks including 'We Sell Brown' and 'Dublin City G's' against a sparse backdrop adorned with a playful sign for 'Deeke's Diner'.

The band’s most explosive track ‘Ketamine’ receives the best reception of the night, its trippy, nightmarish video recreated onstage complete with clown outfit and especially rolled-out couch.

Concert promoter Peter Aiken said he told the band they could have done three nights, such was the demand for tickets. Indeed, Versatile instantly sold out when tickets were released last November, the only Marquee act to do so this year.

Some of the lyrics are genuinely funny - there are references to Karpackie, KFC Boneless Banquets and Calvin Kleins – but in the main, it’s full of the usual lines about affluence, women, and an awful lot about drugs.

At one particular point, the band call out to the crowd hoping there will be “lots of Outburst babies made tonight” (Outburst being the band’s nickname). Given the median age of about 18, you’d certainly hope they’re wrong. Think of the parents, guys.

Whether you agree with what they rap about or not, there’s no doubt that Versatile display a ferocious live energy, along with a feverish support that is unlikely to be replicated again at Live at the Marquee this year. Just don’t bring your mother or father.

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