Truly claiming his title, ‘King of the North’, Bugzy Malone dominated at the O2 Academy, delivering a performance that only solidified his place within grime royalty. An expert in crowd control, he was able to unite sweaty complexions across the floor space as he rolled out hit after hit from his ever-growing repertoire. A true rock star without instruments, wholly in his element as he demanded the attention of all in attendance for the beginning of his Be Inspired tour – and how inspired we were.
Getting into the set came recognizable song ‘Die By The Gun’, which triggered explosive booms from the crowd as his performance escalated. A whirlpool of people churning around gave the space a fluidity that seemed to move to whatever beat Malone conducted. In many ways, the gig became paradoxical as Malone fed off the crowd’s enjoyment, but without his influence we would have been silent.
At first listen, the songs seemed harsh; with the strobing lights controlling your vision it was easy to be swept away into the raw sound. But upon closer inspection, it was a release of emotion – emotion being channelled through a gritty genre often mistaken for aggression. I passed people with blurred faces, knowing that they were lost in the intensity of honest lyricism that we all appreciated in the short hour we had to escape in this sound.
Malone’s genuine cries of happiness, explaining that he could not “believe everyone turned up tonight”, told a tale of purity that his songs only mirrored. He beamed with contentment and, in many moments, he seemed in a world beyond gratitude, as his artistry had touched everyone in the room.
There was no encore. Instead, he finished with his new single, ‘Warning’; with words that told of never giving up; with a mantra that he clearly followed.
Header Image Credit Gobinder Jhitta