After releasing his acclaimed debut Gang Signs and Prayer, which shot to number one in the charts almost instantly, Stormzy is finally ready to take his show back on the road. Having already been announced as a Longitude headliner, probably due to the speed at which this gig sold out, it only makes sense that we finally get a solo show from grime’s hottest act at the moment, and the opening show of the tour at that.
After a ferocious intro, he admits that this is his first time performing a full set in six months, but appears more than ready to tackle the show head on with tenacity and confidence. By the time the second track drops he is smiling ear to ear, happy to be back where he was clearly made to be. Some artists are reluctant performers but Stormzy puts 100% in to absolutely everything and gladly soaks up the crowd’s adoration and knowledge of his freshly dropped debut.
What he delivers is a much more engaging set than what was on display at Longitude last year. This is mostly due to the release of GSAP which suitably pads out a once scarce setlist. Now there’s opportunity to indulge in plenty of lighter-held-high singalongs, as well as the mosh pits and general chaos you’d expect to see. There’s such a huge amount of energy expelled, both on stage and off during the likes of ‘Mr. Skeng’ and ‘One Take Freestyle’, that thankfully the ballads allow for a much needed breather.
Most rappers’ sets are based around the likely response to a few big hits. There is nothing quite like the response to each and every song dropped in the Olympia. The audience have obviously soaked in GSAP back to front and no song goes unappreciated. It really is a sight to behold when an artist, especially once as young as Stormzy (23), has no issue taking full command and control of a ravenous Dublin crowd.
Before going in, there were slight doubts about whether he should be headlining Longitude this Summer with only one album under his belt. However, this spectacular showing expelled any notion that Stormzy isn’t exactly where he should be at this moment in time. As his chosen genre’s popularity continues to soar, this is the artist that will carry the movement on his shoulders and propel it to new heights. It will definitely be an interesting journey to watch and considering how much of a natural showman he is at this point already, he could still bring this a lot further than anyone could expect.
Stormzy photographed for State by Leah Carroll.