In 2009 Dizzee Rascal performed a legendary storming set at the BBC Electric Proms.
Hal Ritson was MD (Musical Director) for the show and delivered the creative vision and realisation of this ambitious concert on Dizzee’s behalf (as well as playing keyboards and bass in the show). Hal took music which was formerly heavily electronic grime and rap, and radically re-contextualized it into a live setting with an 11 piece live rock band based around the core of his The Young Punx touring band beefed up with classical vocals from singers from the choir of King’s College Cambridge (where Hal studied) and strings from The Heritage Orchestra (arranged by Jules Buckley).
Rather than simply trying to copy the original recording live, or just ‘arranging them for an orchestra’ Hal tried to shine new light on all the tracks from different angles, finding surprising new takes on well known records, such as performing Bonkers as raunchy slide blues (inspired by the bending bassline of the original) or Stand Up Tall as a mash up with Smells Like Teen spirit (inspired by Dizzee’s much wider tastes than widely known, including a love of moshing rock).
The show was a popular and critical success and a stripped back version of the live show went on to play the 2010 festival season including headlining Glastonbury. In both the proms and touring shows, no backing tracks or click tracks were ever used, with a 100% commitment to live performance.
Guitar and bass, Guthrie Govan and Booga. Keyboards and bass, Hal Ritson. Drums, Alex Reeves. Percussion and sampler, Simon Bettison. Backing vocals, Sam Blue, Vula Malinga, Ladonna Harley-Peters. Trumpet, Neil Waters. Sax and flute, Ben Somers. Trombone, Rob Dowell. Strings, The Heritage Orchestra. String arrangement, Jules Buckley. Choir, The Camden Choral Collective.