Slowthai at The Academy, Dublin on 10th October 2019
Contemporary urban music is a young person’s game, as the crowd and line-up at The Academy alike prove. Kicking off his ‘Eurovision’ Tour is the artist formerly known as Tyron Kaymone Frampton, Slowthai. At just 24 years old, he’s had quite the year.
The self-proclaimed Brexit Bandit’s debut album ‘There’s Nothing Great About Britain’ released in May received rave reviews. There’s also not much more that can be said about his show stealing stunt at the Mercury Prize ceremony that came about from his album’s nomination for the prestigious award. That he has sold out two nights back to back at the Dublin venue comes as no surprise. It’s just a shame his £5 domestic tour couldn’t be converted.
Fitting support came from our very own Luka Palm, who at 17 is more charismatic a performer and capable a rapper than he has any right to be. After an assist from the up and coming Shankill rapper Bobby Basil, he is joined by Soft Boy Records’ Kojaque to a rapturous response from the crowd, tracks like Airbnb and Spit Dat Out from the duo’s recent ‘Green Diesel’ project united the crowd in a bobbing chant-a-long.
The crowd’s energy was still palpable by the time Slowthai entered stage amidst a backdrop of blood red LEDs, accompanied by his brand new mascot-cum-hype man ‘The Crack Rabbit’. He wastes no time, walking out to the opening tense strings of the album’s title track and jumping straight into Drug Dealer. “It’s good to be home” he tells the crowd “Every time I’ve been in Dublin I’ve felt nothing but love and kindness. All of you are friends for life. You love me and I love you. ‘cos I love you like a crack head loves crack”.
Feeding from the crowd’s energy and out of respect to his peers, we are treated to his latest collaborative single with Denzel Curry Psycho and his Brockhampton cut Heaven Belongs To You before making a young fan’s life by inviting him to rap Skepta’s verse on Inglorious.
Crowd banter and storytelling in between and to set up the next track are tricks Slowthai has a real knack for but at no point does it feel forced. Slowthai is far too earnest, too steadfast in his ethics and his beliefs to dare to pander. It’s his vulnerability rather than his grit that provides the most memorable moments. Slow burning dirge Missing is dedicated to World Mental Health Day (“Remember its okay not to feel okay. We’re all family and when we stand together, we stand together strong and nobody can bring us down.”) During the heart-achingly candid Northampton’s Child, his voice cracks with equal parts emotion and exhaustion.
The show is punctuated with blasts of dry ice and confetti, beat skipping, and acapella verses before song restarts. The night is brought to a close with ‘The Crack Rabbit’ running a counter clockwise lap around the floor. The high octane performance makes for a high octane crowd, something Slowthai anticipated in having the stage decorated with mirrors so his fans can watch themselves enjoy themselves. And enjoy themselves they did.