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Live Review: Stormzy - Logan Campbell Centre, Auckland

Live Review: Stormzy - Logan Campbell Centre, Auckland

Review by Tamsyn Matchett / Wednesday 2nd August, 2017 1:30PM

Grime artists are notorious for their interactive social media accounts and Stormzy is no different. Saturday's Instagram video boasting a packed Wellington audience left me curious. It seemed surprising that a rapper from Croydon, South London, could be so relatable to a Kiwi audience. Auckland proved to be no different.

Grime relies on audience participation, on community and on hype. And this show had it all. For a Tuesday night, Tāmaki Makaurau did well turning out for a sold out gig in Greenlane. The excitement did appear to be too much for some however; with several young dudes removed from the venue before Stormzy had even started.

At 1.96 metres, Stormzy cuts an impressive figure on stage. Flanked by his DJ, he held the crowd's attention from beginning to end with his self-effacing style and continual props to his marge (mum). His confidence and dominance is apparent as he moved effortlessly between heavy bass driven anthems. It’s hard to believe he is 24, but then again, most of the crowd was younger. This was most evident during his Ed Sheeran cover which left me feeling outside of his target market.

Gang Signs & Prayer, his debut album, was on full rotation and he made sure to cover all the bangers – 'Mr Skeng', 'Big For Your Boots', 'Bad Boys' and '100 Bags' were particularly epic. He also made time to slow things down, including a particularly sweet serenade to the ladies in the room with the less known 'Velvet'. Older hits like 'Where Do You Know Me From' and 'Feed Em To The Lions' were highlights as kids rapped along to 'Big Mike' with strange hybrid Kiwi-South London accents. Shout out to the guy in front of me who turned his can of beer into a bong mid-way through.

Finishing with 'Shut Up', a song originally released to YouTube that now has 60 million plus views, was inevitable. Understanding lyrics like “I’m so London, I’m so south” is difficult but the kids around me seemed to get it. If anything, it illustrates how people resonate with performers who have a proud sense of identity. And it’s that proud sense of identity that was on show tonight.

Stormzy is back on our shores in December to play Northern Bass. Head over here for more info.

Photo from Stormzy's Wellington show taken by Reef Reid/RADAR Photography and used with permission from Head over here to see the full gallery.


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