Stormzy plays the O2 Academy and Getintothis’ Luke Chandley sees a legend in the making.
On the way to tonight’s gig, there’s a message on social media from a friend ‘Stormzy is a British legend!’
It was hard to tell whether she was being ironic (she wasn’t) but, taking the last year into consideration, it’s becoming increasingly hard to find people who would disagree with this statement. It’s for this reason this writer was excited to see what all the fuss was around Stormzy. So off we trot to the O2 Academy in Liverpool.
As opposed to a support artist, the warm-up for Stomzy was a DJ. Unlike most support artists for shows, this one actually warmed up the crowd. It turns out crowds are more receptive to being ‘pumped up’ for the main act if you actively give them something that will pump them up.
If this is what each show is like, it’s really easy to see how the UK – and not just London – is fast becoming known as the grime capital of the world.
The first track by Stomzy, First Things First, sounded out across the room like a siren, coming as an even bigger shot in the arm to an already eager Liverpool crowd. ‘Have you got energy, Liverpool? Have you got soul, Liverpool?’ he shouted after the song. Liverpool was ready to prove it had both.
Further into the set, Cigarettes and Cush brings out, what Stormzy is hoping at least, ‘the biggest fucking sing- a-long Liverpool has ever seen’. Although it wasn’t quite that, the crowd put in their all, with the Croydon-born artist barely touching the chorus with his own vocals, allowing his fans to sing along and give him slight respite from the furious strut across stage that had plastered the first half of his set.
Blinded By Your Grace PT 1 was another slow jam, and while this time the artist admits he’s not the best singer around, he’s going to sing his‘fucking heart out’ – and it’s these slower songs that find the crowd in blinding voice. As he states, it’s hard to find time for the more melancholic songs across any set list, but this track makes it look easy, drawing massive applause from the adoring fans.
Stormzy’s remix of the smash Ed Sheeran track Shape of You is next, with excitement hitting fever pitch. And with great reason. Two of the biggest pop acts right now – Stormzy himself and Sheeran – join forces and create a second version of this same song to become one of the hottest radio tracks of 2017.
Single Too Big For Your Boots is played on towards the end of the gig and is taken well by his fans, but it’s Shut Up that gets one of the biggest reactions of the night. The crowd swing into a frenzy, raising the roof and raising their collective voice.
The finale is a fully charged call to arms. Before he tells the crowd what the next song is, he asks for a renewed energy. He wants, nay, demands ‘that mosh pit, that fuck the police, that hooligan energy’ as he moves into one of the final tracks of the night, Know Me From. This song is hyped-up to the point it actually feels on the cusp of out-of-control. It has a mass of aggression, an anxious, pent up rage that spread throughout the room like a virus. Only this virus made for the best part of the evening. A feeling that pumped through every person and saw the crowd go from static to a ruckus within 3 minutes. It was truly breathtaking.
We got to the show not knowing whether Stormzy was a British legend, but we left the show knowing that if his live performance continues like this, it will become a thing of legend in Britain.