Lee Hawthorn

Big Beat Bronson Bid Farewell With Doggy Bag EP

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Big Beat Bronson

When it comes to North East’s local music, Big Beat Bronson are without doubt one of the most talented bands to come out of the region. Their adrenaline-pumping, genre-blending production lays a bouncy backdrop for the fronting trio of Mista Breeze, Baron Von Alias and Eliza Lawson to exude their own energetic excellence, to become one of the most exciting live acts that Newcastle has ever produced.

Their retirement announcement leaves a huge hole in the heart of North East Hip Hop, even if they don’t fit easily into the rap music mould, and it’s one that will be difficult to fill, despite the hordes of up-and-coming talent. Not to mention the expected solo ventures of the respective members of BBB.

As the strobe lights are turned off, the bell for last orders has rung and the band are leaving the stage, Big Beat Bronson are leaving us with a Doggy Bag EP. While there’s no slice of cake, fun sized Mars Bar, or yo-yo that’ll snap after one spin – we are treated to five tracks that are packed with the pop-culture referencing, punchline-focalised rhymes that established Breeze, Baron and Eliza as such likeable figures in the local music scene.

Kicking off the EP, the very first punchline of opening track Play No Games, sounds off “nobody cares like you won The Voice” and sets the tone for the rest of the final project from the Geordie group. With further references to various flops from Tom Daley’s Splash and Kieron Dyer, Breeze and Baron wage a war of one-upmanship, pushing one another to their A game, bridged by Eliza on the hook.

Following up, Throw A Wobbler exemplifies the solitary issue with Big Beat Bronson’s studio discography – it doesn’t match up to the live performance. With a track that encourages you to jump around and throw some shapes, it’s hard to truly enjoy it anywhere other than in the crowd of it being performed, and while it is a genuinely decent record, it’s just not the same listening through headphones. Why So Serious is a similar example, but manages to better its predecessor with gimmicky, literal screams for attention, commanding the ear and making for a more captivating listen, largely thanks to the cadence, and partly thanks to the mid-track mini-skit regarding Breeze’s mother.

The penultimate cut from the Doggy Bag EP comes courtesy of Draw A Line. In a rare slow-tempo, emotionally resonating style, Eliza’s vocal talent – which is often (criminally) overlooked – is showcased with a sublime chorus and verse that acts as anchor to the two rapped verses and outshines the MC duo simultaneously. It’s a definite grower, as Big Beat Bronson with a more serious tone takes some getting used to, but it’s a great track that rubber-stamps the credentials of BBB as way more than a one-trick pony.

Closing out the EP, the final ever Big Beat Bronson single Let Me Out signals the very end of the party. With yet another amazing contribution from Eliza, over dub-step production that matches up to Mista Breeze and Baron Von Alias’ verses, which seem somewhat more creatively controlled than usual, and make for a more conventional Hip Hop structure – and culminates in what is certainly a personal favourite track from their entire discography, and a fitting end.

While we can all hope for a Jay Z / The Black Album style retirement, in which they’ll come back before we have the chance to forget them (as if we could), should this really be the end of the Big Beat Bronson era, they couldn’t have bowed out with a project much better than Doggy Bag.

We still want that final show though.