Live review: Karl Phillips & The Midnight Ramblers

With tongue in cheek and finger on the pulse of, err, Harrow, Phillips et al strike for fame and loadsa money with a low-key date at Proud Camden.

WITH their debut album released with zero fanfare just a week before Christmas, it was easy to miss Karl & Co’s compelling Pic’n’Mix of ska, grime, nu-metal and more.

Despite being dealt a similar hand with this Monday night slot, Phillips didn’t seem disheartened in front of the small student crowd.

The street poet spat out lyrics like he’d just sipped rat poison, a barrage of irreverent bravado that blurs the line between tongue-in-cheek and benefits-chic.

In their heavier moments the band come across like Rage or Limp Bizkit with beefy bass, but live, as on record, it’s countered with a heavy dose of ska and a wry smile.

Phillips’ sharp, affectionate lampooning of leisure park-prowling “plastic gangstas” in pimped-up hatchbacks, low-level dealers and preened teen prima donnas was a bit lost in the Stables’ eaves, but the chav-tastic, rocket-propelled delusion of Pink Champagne was a raucous ska-pop highlight regardless.