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Words by Shaolin Steve

Outkast @ The Astoria, London

London was buzzing the night of Outkast's show at the Astoria - the concert had been postponed twice already this year, and heads made sure they arrived early so that the when the ATLiens finally beamed down to Planet Stankonia, their eagerly-awaited arrival would not be missed. Brixton crew 57th Dynasty dropped a few tracks: an average performance, although the politically-focused "Still I Rise" does make the listener take heed. The blatant advertising of their "independent" label and their "independent" status was a little over the top - there are plenty of outstanding hip hop artists who also started out "independent", so this isn't ground-breaking news.

Soon afterwards, the black and white Star-Spangled Banner was raised, and Outkast, accompanied by a 5-strong dance crew, dropped "Gasoline Dreams". The energetic pace of Andre - resembling a 21st Century George Clinton - and Big-Boi (resembling the ultimate player) was relentless, and the crowd responded by giving 'Kast their choruses and tearing the roof off. The ATLiens rapidly worked up a sweat, and had to grab their towels in order stay "So Fresh, So Clean". The middle of their set was what some would regard as their magnum opus - "Ms Jackson" - although the classic that got them high-rolling on the road to stardom, "Player's Ball", was noticeably missing from their cadillacfunkymuzik. "Xplosion" had just the effect one would expect it to have, "we just won't be amazed" - although London truly was. With such a fast moving show, and such an array of classic Hip-Hop gems, the finale came all too soon for most, and "Bombs Over Baghdad" was the Atlanta players' sign-off, leaving a trail of devastation second to none in the world of Hip-Hop concerts. Outkast proved to old and new fans alike that they can perform on a superstar level without disregarding the raw talent that rocketed them to universal acclaim.

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