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NASS - Bath And West Showground, Shepton Mallett - July 11-13 2013 (Live Review)

Friday, 19 July 2013 Written by Adam Holden

NASS 2013, one of Britain’s biggest extreme sports and music festivals, finished as it started: bathed in glorious sunshine and littered with flat-cap wearing teenagers.

Throughout the three-day festival in Shepton Mallet, Somerset, elite skating, BMX, and inline competitions were housed in stunning indoor skate parks, which also provided a haven and escape from the fierce temperatures that enveloped the arena.

By day, parents could be seen wandering around, accompanying their children as they marvelled at some daredevil stunts, while at night, the music took over. For 2013, Katy B and the legendary Nas headlined.

Securing Nas was a major coup for the festival, and probably their most lucrative headliner to date. One of the few remaining rappers from same era as the late 2Pac and Biggie Smalls to still be spitting his rhymes, Nas followed up his set at Glastonbury with an electric slot at NASS.

With his recent studio LPs not exactly lighting up the radio waves in the same way efforts from his New York counterpart and one-time rival Jay Z have, the word around the festival - from skate competitions to burger vans, ice cream stores and campsites – was: “I hope Nas plays some old school tunes”.

And, of course, he didn’t let anyone down. With DJ Green Lantern on the decks, Nas, rapping clearly, consistently and with great clarity, ran through an 80-minute set that included all the big guns and even a medley of It Ain't Hard To Tell, Represent and The World Is Yours.

Sadly, by the end of the set, the packed out crowd had slightly dissipated. Perhaps this was due to the young average age of the audience but, either way, the set was excellent and served as a reminder that rappers from the old days have something over their modern counterparts in a live setting.

Warming up the crowd before the New Yorker came on stage was Radio 1's Zane Lowe, who did what Zane Lowe does. Being known for his cool taste in music has always been Lowe's ideology, even back in his MTV days, and he hasn’t changed. He ran through nearly every genre of music, playing the hits and keeping everyone happy. Skepta was a surprise success story too, with a thoroughly enjoyable, high energy set of UK hip hop, while one third of Magnetic Man, Benga, Andy C, Hadouken and Shy FX also turned in fine performances.

With the weather this intense, NASS also provided more than enough shade and areas to keep cool while still watching entertaining adrenaline junkies and high quality music. That's something not many festivals have to offer.

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